To celebrate Read Across America Day (March 2, 2012), I am visiting THREE local schools on Thursday, and I will be reading to children in grades K- 8th


When I visit schools, I like to tell children that I fell in love with stories as a little girl in Scotland, before I could read or write, by listening to them on the radio during the BBC Children’s Story hour.  Nowadays, I notice that there seems to be less emphasis on the importance of reading aloud to children of ALL ages. Sadly, I think many parents and even teachers feel pressured to stop reading picture books to their children in an effort to expose him or her to the more “advanced” literature of chapter books?  What a pity, because I think we need to be sharing picture books with our children, regardless of age, because:

Good Picture Books have many layers of meaning that the reader or listener can enjoy on many different levels.
Good Picture Books are meant to be READ ALOUD to a loved one, be she five or fifty.
Good Picture Books offer rich, lyrical language that nurtures a life-long passion for stories.
For the past sixteen years, I have been reading Picture Books (mainly fairy tales and folk tales) at an inner city elementary school here in Denver and I believe that the single best way to foster a love of literature is to READ ALOUD to your children (regardless of age) every single day.  Read them stories that are AGE-APPROPRIATE, and stories that you love.
Illustration by Paige Keiser from Raj the Bookstore Tiger
 Picture Books “not only ignite a child’s imagination and curiosity, but inspire them to read more.” Mary Brigid Barrett, President of the NCBLA (National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance). For a list of recommended Picture Books, click here and also here

To complement your READ ACROSS AMERICA activities, you might like to download a Story Hour Kit and Activity Guide for RAJ at –