An elementary school teacher sits with her students as they hold up their favorite picture books in their Kentucky classroom. They are part of Save the Children's in school emergent reader program which provides training, tools and support schools need to accelerate reading growth for struggling readers.

Helping Kids Read Across America

Read Across America Day, an annual reading motivation and awareness program initiated by the National Education Association, calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2. It’s no coincidence that March 2 is also the birthday of Dr. Seuss, a celebrated children’s author whose books continue to inspire and delight readers young and old. 

Save the Children knows that fostering a love of learning early on is key to improving literacy in America and ensuring our children’s success in school and life. That’s why we offer effective school-based child literacy programs to children living in poverty right here in the United States. Our child literacy programs and expanded curriculum in science and math help elementary school children across the country from kindergarten through sixth grade stay on track developmentally and grow as readers and learners. Here is the story of two such students. 

 

Five-year-old Preston isn’t too sure if he’d ever eat green eggs and ham, but he is certain the Dr. Seuss classic that features this peculiar food pairing is his favorite.

“My favorite book is ‘Green Eggs and Ham,’” he said. “I like books that are funny,”

These days, the east Kentucky kindergartner is confident in the letters of the alphabet and their corresponding sounds. This wasn’t the case at the start of the school year, however, when he was struggling to develop his early literacy skills. But with the help of Save the Children’s in-school literacy program, his abilities are growing every day.

“Letters are the most important thing I have learned this year,” Preston said. “I hardly knew any of them when school started.”

He can also now identify rhyming words, and is articulating words more clearly when he speaks.

Preston is one of thousands of kids across America that Save the Children’s literacy programs are supporting every day, strengthening their literacy skills to help ensure they have the best possible start in life. During the 2017-18 school year, children participating in these programs read an average of 102 books. Their literacy improvement, on average, was also equivalent to an additional six months of schooling.

This includes children like 9-year-old Kaley from eastern Tennessee, who was reading at least a grade level below her peers when she started second grade last school year. Now in third grade – and in her third year participating in Save the Children’s in-school literacy program – she’s caught up to her peers in reading, and loves to read on her own.

“I like to read books about dogs and cats,” Kaley said.

Dr. Seuss has those topics covered too.

To learn more about the work Save the Children has done to support child literacy and help set children up for success, visit our website.