Let's read a story today Read Across America: Events aim vTC to spur youngsters' interest in books an learning

March 02, 1998

WHAT DOES IT take to get a child excited about reading at an early age? Try picking up a book, sitting down and sharing the words and emotions of that story with young boys and girls. day's nationwide Read Across America, designed to spur involvement by parents, grandparents and just plain folks in kids' reading activities.

The notion is a simple one. The finest gift an adult can give to young children is a love of reading. By participating in "Read to Kids Day" people can convey to school children the importance they place on words and books.

The National Education Association thought up this idea and linked it to the birth date (March 2) of the late Theodr Geisel, who wrote under the pen name Dr. Seuss. His most famous character, The Cat in the Hat, signed on as mascot for this reading day.

There's a strong local tie: Orioles infielder Cal Ripken Jr. serves as national co-chairman. Before hitting the ball fields in Florida today, he will read to local schoolchildren. In Carroll County, the NEA affiliate is giving books to parents of babies born today; Howard County's NEA branch is donating $450 to two elementary schools for library books; members of the Social Security Administration Clown Club are reading to kids at the William S. Baer School in Baltimore, and high schoolers in Essex are preparing green eggs and ham (the name of a famous Dr. Seuss book) at Mars Estates Elementary School and then reading to fourth-graders.

For parents, the best approach is to set aside time each day to read to your kids. Reading the back of a cereal box could be a fun way to start. Or give voice to stories on The Sun's Reading by 9 pages. Or volunteer your services at a local elementary school.

Engaging children in reading activities cannot begin early enough. So pick up a book and start speaking the words to your youngsters, or to kids in the neighborhood or in a nearby community. Get involved, and stay involved in this crucial learning process.

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