March Is National Reading Month!
March 3, 2021
Meadowlark Elementary School is celebrating National Reading Month, not only in honor of Dr. Seuss' birthday but to motivate students to read every day. The school district's Librarian Kelsey Harry has a series of activities to bring recognition to reading in March.
According to scientists and brain researchers, reading books isn't just about filling one's head with knowledge-it's about nourishing the brain. Although there are countless methods to allegedly improve memory and cognitive functioning, one of the cheapest, easiest, and most time-tested ways to sharpen those abilities is by reading.
Scientific studies have associated reading with increased cognitive function, memory, vocabulary, empathy, and decreased levels of stress. Reading before bed can help improve sleep quality and may also help to prevent or delay the onset of Alzheimer's disease.
Given all of these benefits, it's no wonder that educators and parents stress the importance of reading. It may also explain why we have a month designated as National Reading Month, a month to motivate Americans of all ages to read every day.
At Meadowlark Elementary School, staff and students will kick off their festivities with a week of dress up days. Harry has set this calendar:
• Monday, 3/1: My Many Colored Monday - Wear as many colors as you can.
• Tuesday, 3/2: Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! - Dress as your favorite Dr. Seuss book character or wear red and white.
• Wednesday, 3/3: Read my shirt day - Wear a shirt with some kind of writing on it.
• Thursday, 3/4: Green Eggs and Ham Day - Wear as much green clothing and accessories as you can.
• Friday, 3/5: Cat in the Hat Day - Wear your favorite silly hat.
Harry reported that school officials will also be giving away a free book every day of the month to one lucky student each day.
In addition, students who earn an 80% or higher on any Accelerated Reader tests during March will be entered into a drawing to win a Kindle Fire.
Even though all reading provides brain benefits, not all reading is created equal. Preliminary findings from a series of experiments conducted at Stanford University indicate that close literary reading, in particular, gives the brain the workout it needs to remain healthy. Because skimming or reading on a screen are rarely continuous, sustained, or concentrated, such reading habits don't provide the same health benefits.
Maryanne Wolf, a researcher, educator, and advocate for children and literacy around the world, writes about the impact of digital media on reading. In her book Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World (HarperCollins, 2018), she claims that without the sustained exercise of our reading "muscles," the brain may lose its capacity for critical thinking, empathy, and reflection.