Press Release

BLOOMINGTON – U.S. Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Taylorville) read to second grade students at Irving School Monday, sharing a tale about mice trying to find middle ground on declaring a national cheese.

Davis read the story, “House Mouse, Senate Mouse” to the class as part of a Read Across America celebration, a day created by the National Education Association in 1997 after an NEA reading task force suggested a day of reading to remind students of the fun and adventure associated with books. And, on March 2, 1998, the birthday of Dr. Seuss (who was born Theodor Geisel), the first Read Across America day became a reality.

“I was so happy to celebrate Read Across America Day this year with second graders at Irving Elementary School,” said Davis. “My wife Shannon and I read to our three kids nearly every night when they were younger – being able to recite some of their favorite books by heart. By encouraging a love for reading, we can help children learn and further their education. I am proud to join my colleague Susan Davis and the Illinois Education Association/National Education Association to recognize the importance of Read Across America Day each year.”

An estimated 45 million educators, parents, and students across the nation celebrate Read Across America events. This year’s events kicked off March 1 with Read Across America Day. This year’s theme is: Celebrating a Nation of Diverse Readers.

“It’s so important that students get a chance to read books that open their hearts and minds to new people, new experiences and new perspectives,” said Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association.

“That’s really one of the great joys of reading. And, all of those new things we learn when we read help us understand that the world is richer than just our own experience which, in turn, helps us build stronger communities.”

NEA has created a number of tools to accompany the RAA celebration:

  • The 2018-19 Read Across America Resource calendar highlights the diverse books available to a wide range of readers.
  • To help share the recommended titles with students, many of them are available through the First Book Marketplace. Eligible educators, librarians, program leaders, and others serving children in need can sign up to purchase titles at a discount.
  • Join Read Across America on Social #ReadAcrossAmerica #DiverseBooks

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The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.