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Read Across America in March!

During March we celebrate NEA's Read Across America, the many reasons reading is important, and why diverse books matter.

Reading diverse books helps kids discover their own voices and listen to the voices of others. Share stories that raise up the many voices that need to be amplified and heard and encourage readers to use their voices for positive change and to influence others to believe in themselves.

For Younger Readers

THE SOUND OF SILENCE by Katrina Goldsaito; illustrated by Julia Kuo (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2016)

Yoshio, who lives in the busy, noisy city of Toyko, is searching for the most beautiful sound of all.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

Head outside and have students spend 5-10 minutes with eyes closed, listening carefully to the sounds around them. What did they hear? Ask students to make a list that describes the sounds or names the things they heard. Talk as a group about what kids heard. Did they hear some sounds simultaneously? Could they hear distinctive sounds? Were there any sounds that they couldn't identify? Was there ever a moment when they heard no sounds at all? Have students use precise language to write a descriptive passage or poem about a favorite sound and why they love to hear it.

Learn More About:

For Middle Grade Readers

THREADS by Ami Polonsky; illustration Raquel Aparicio (Disney Hyperion, 2016)
Kidnapped and forced to work in a factory, 13-year-old Yuming slips a note into a purse that is found in Illinois by 12-year-old Clara who, still grieving over the death of her sister, persuades her parents to take a family trip to China in the hopes of rescuing Yuming.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

When Clara finds Yuming's note in a purse at a local department store, her father has a hard time imagining children held against their will to make purses. But Clara feels compelled to help, and she and her parents turn to the Chinese consulate in the hopes they will investigate. Clara ultimately puts her own plan in action to try to save Yuming. Have students discuss Yuming's plight, research how products they buy get made, and consider other ways they could speak up and make visible the trafficked children who've been forced into labor.

Learn More About:

  • The many forms of child trafficking and provide students with an understanding of the complexity of this a human rights violation with UNICEF USA Child Trafficking lesson plans.
  • Goods commonly produced with slave labor and how consumption habits are connected to modern-day slavery with the Slavery Footprint challenge by Made in A Free World.

For Young Adult Readers

SOLDIER BOY by Keely Hutton (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017)

In 1989, 14-year-old Ricky Richard Anywar was abducted and forced to fight in Joseph Kony's rebel army in Uganda's decades-long civil war. Ricky's harrowing story is told alongside Samuel's, a fictional representative of the thousands of child soldiers Ricky later helps rehabilitate as founder of the internationally acclaimed charity Friends of Orphans.

Read, Discuss and Explore:

After reading Soldier Boy, discuss the plight of child soldiers with students. Had they been aware that children are forced to serve as soldiers? What did they know about the conflicts in Uganda and in other countries? Encourage them to research these conflicts and their consequences for children who are forced to join armed groups: How many children are involved and where? How are children used? What are the effects of their involvement? What happens to the children when they are no longer useful to the militia or military? Ask students to consider what kinds of support and help children would need to rejoin their families and community after being taken and forced to fight. Have them research existing programs, such as Friends of Orphans, and brainstorm ideas for programs and policies that would help reintegrate child soldiers into their communities and help prevent, reduce, or resolve violent conflict.

Learn More About:

Additional Resources

Read Across America Featured Partner

Reading Rockets creates and disseminates free, evidence-based information about reading and teaching reading, including classroom strategies, in-classroom video, reading tips for parents in 11 languages, video interviews with top children's book authors, a daily news service, and much more. Reading Rockets’ companion bilingual initiative, Colorín Colorado, provides information, activities, and tips for Spanish-speaking parents and educators of English language learners (ELLs). Colorín Colorado receives major funding from the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association.

Edcommunities Groups

Collaborate with educators on this topic in the groups below.

CTA Member Engagement Resources
CTA Member Engagement Resourses is a tool for local chapters who are currently, or are considering implementing a member engagement program.This group page will allow for storage and sharing of resources such as flyers, posters, Powerpoints, and training modules for local, regional, and statewide use. This site is intended for the open exchange of these strengths and resources; a place where members may ask questions and interact with other locals and their leadership throughout NEA and CTA regarding implementation of programs, with special attention given to stories of local successes.

NEA-ESP Whole Student Community
Practitioners informed by Elevating ESP Career research, to gain visibility and inclusion in both community and school, resulting in implementing change for student success.

Ideas and Tips for Student Success Submit tips here or Know someone who would love the great tips from our newsletter? Send them to

Our Read Across America Online Store is Open!

Visit to purchase stickers, bookmarks, pencils, mugs, hats & more. We have all you need to create a memorable RAA celebration.


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Download the Read Across America 2017 Recommended Books Poster here (PDF).

Click here to download the 2018-19 Read Across America Resource Calendar and Poster!

NEA's Read Across America: Building a Nation of Readers

Reading Rockets offers a wealth of research-based resources designed to launch young readers. It's for parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Coming in 2019...

National Teacher Day
May 7, 2019

National Teacher Appreciation Week
May 6-10, 2019

American Education Week
November 11-15, 2019

Coming in 2020...

NEA's Read Across America Day
Monday, March 2, 2020