More than 75 volunteers gathered among eight schools Tuesday to get over 2,500 students excited about reading and to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday. The lesson of the day: Reading is fun!
The volunteer reading took place in eight schools, reaching over 100 classrooms and 2,500 students in New Haven, Hamden, and West Haven; and featured more than 90 community volunteers from Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven Police Department, Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Yale University’s West Campus and more. United Way and its partners also donated a set of Dr. Seuss’s classics to each of the 100 classroom libraries.
“It’s really important that we read [with our children],” Mayor Toni Harp said. Studies show children who read frequently develop stronger reading skills.
In fact, children who are read to several times a week gain more than a year’s advantage in reading levels by age 15.
“Reading proficiency by third grade is the most important predictor of high school graduation and career success,” Laoise King, vice president of education initiatives at United Way of Greater New Haven, said. “Yet every year, more than 80 percent of low-income children miss this crucial milestone. We are here today to support them, to get them excited about reading, and most importantly do our part to ensure this milestone is no longer missed.”
Read Across America Day, which celebrates Dr. Seuss’s birthday and the joys of reading, expects more than 45 million readers throughout the country, both young and old, to pick up a book and read.
“A person’s a person no matter how small,” Hamden Mayor Curt Leng read to a class of third graders at Church Street School in Hamden.
The reading celebration, part of the national Read Across America Day, was organized by United Way of Greater New Haven to honor Dr. Seuss’ birthday by engaging the community in the effort to foster a love of reading among our youngest students.
“The benefits of reading are so far reaching that it is something that is definitely worthwhile, and I would ask every parent with school children read at least a half hour each day,” West Haven Mayor Edward O’Brien said as he highlighted the importance of reading. Hamden and West Haven joined New Haven in United Way’s annual Read Across America day celebrations for the first time this year.
“We are excited about partnering with United Way and their efforts to encourage student success,” Leng said.