March is a long month; at least it feels that way. It seems to stretch on much longer that its 31 days. Is it because February whips by so quickly and the relief of April and spring- like weather seems too far distant? Or is it because March is a month of contradictions?
March teeters on the brink of spring only to pull back at the last minute with the hoary breath of winter breathing its last farewell. March is a month of indefinite mood – cold and forbidding one day, warm and friendly the next. We don’t understand March as well as we do other months. We know what to expect in June and July. September and October offer few surprises. We can even presume that December and January will behave as we expect. But March? We never know what to expect. It just seems like one month too many. Why not skip March and go directly to April?
Of course that’s a silly notion. If we skip March, then we’ll miss all of its celebrations, and March is full of celebrations. It’s Women’s History Month, National Nutrition Month, National Celery Month, Music in Our Schools Month, and, the one of greatest importance, National Reading Awareness Month.
Each year at the beginning of March, school children kick off National Reading Awareness Month by celebrating the birthday of the beloved Dr. Seuss. With help from Read Across America and many volunteers, the goal is to motivate kids to read every day of the year. However, we know that almost half the young children in this country will not hear a bedtime story tonight. Unfortunately, many parents and caregivers are not aware of the power of daily reading aloud. They are not aware that every time you read to your child you are improving their learning advantage – by introducing the sounds and sights of words, new vocabulary and the structure of language. Reading aloud to your preschooler is the single most important thing you can do to prepare your child for school. Just fifteen minutes a day can make a difference.
National Reading Awareness Month reminds us of the importance of reading in lives young and old. It’s not only children, parents and caregivers that need to be reminded. We all need to be reminded – of the joy it brings us, the companionship, the intellectual stimulation, and the understanding of oneself and the world. Let’s celebrate March and National Reading Awareness Month. Grab a book and dive right in!