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Read with your children

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If you’ve ever shared a book with a child, you know the joy and excitement this small but meaningful act can bring. But, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, since 1993 only 53 to 58 percent of children ages three to five received this joy on a daily basis.

We can do better! Simply reading daily with a child does require parents, older brothers and sisters, and other caring adults to add yet another hat to the many they already wear to care for and raise a child. But by adding the reading hat to your collection, you also add great rewards:

• Children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school.
• Children who read frequently develop stronger reading skills.

To get kids excited about reading and encourage more adults to spend time reading with their children, the National Education Association launched the first NEA’s Read Across America day in 1998. Today (March 3), NEA’s Read Across America marks 17 years of celebrating reading and the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

So from coast to coast, teachers, celebrities, community members, and parents are putting aside the many hats they wear for work and play and donning their reading hats, the red and white striped stovepipe hat of the Cat in the Hat. NEA-New Mexico and Local Association members, cooperating with school officials, are bringing the Cat in the Hat and complimentary books during late February and March to students in these and other districts:  Santa Fe, Española, Kirtland, Hatch, Bernalillo, Artesia, Las Cruces, Los Lunas, Farmington and Las Vegas.

In bringing a nation of readers together under one hat, NEA’s Read Across America offers opportunities for you to volunteer, to read, and to share your life experiences; opportunities for businesses to contribute products to congratulate young readers and for employees to volunteer time at reading programs; and opportunities for our elected officials, from the national to the state and local levels, to make reading a high priority.

Let’s all join together today, and every day thereafter, to ensure New Mexico’s children have caring adults to share books and rich reading experiences.

Betty Patterson
NEA-New Mexico President