Share the Joy of Reading with Read Across America

Scholastic Book Fair
Scholastic Book Fair. Photo: Maryann Goldman

NEA’s Read Across America was Monday, March 2nd, and schools across the country have scheduled activities all week long to celebrate. Does your child’s school have something planned?

My son’s elementary school planned their first annual Moonlight Reading event yesterday to coincide with Read Across America and the Scholastic Book Fair. Students were encouraged to wear a costume depicting their favorite book character to school for the day and then to return in the evening with their parents for additional activities. Teachers were stationed in grade level groups in classrooms throughout the school, and students and parents used a map to navigate to the reading sessions and teachers they wanted to visit. Each of the three reading sessions lasted 15 minutes, and five minutes was scheduled to move between sessions. At the end, everyone went to the cafeteria for milk and cookies, and a special guest speaker read a book to the entire group. Of course the book fair was open during the entire event, and book sales seemed to be doing well. The event appeared to be a huge success, and I suspect it will be the first of many.

Besides being educational, the event gave students, teachers, and even parents a chance to do some fun book character cosplay.  Students were highly encouraged not to dress as movie characters but instead to be creative and choose characters whose roots are firmly planted in books. That was hard for some to do, but others seemed to excel with creative book character costumes.

I went with The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss because I already had the costume. I’ve worn it to school activities before, and it’s always a hit. Apparently a lot of other folks had the same idea; at times it seemed like a Cat in the Hat convention!

Cat in the Hat
Cat in the Hat meets Cat in the Hat. Photo: Maryann Goldman

One of my favorite costumes depicted the The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. Fish scales were cut out of felt and fastened to an apron. What a great effect!

Rainbow Fish
Costume representing the Rainbow Fish books. Photo: Maryann Goldman

Another costume that I thought was super cool depicted the book A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon. I was blown away by how well the make-up and shirt really showed off the character’s stripes!

A Bad Case of Stripes
Costume representing the book A Bad Case of Stripes Photo: Maryann Goldman

Truly inspiring was this costume depicting the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault. This costume was created using bathtub style foam alphabet letters. Simple and perfect!

Chika Chika Boom Boom
Costume representing the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Photo: Maryann Goldman

If you’re hungry for reading, you might even go with a costume inspired by If You Give a Pig a Pancake by Laura Numeroff. Ingenious!

Give a Pig a Pancake
Costume representing the book Give a Pig a Pancake. Photo: Maryann Goldman

I saw children dressed as cowboys and cowgirls, Harry Potter, Merlin the Wizard, The Tin Man, Thing 1 and Thing 2, and a host of other fun characters too!

Next year I want to be Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus series. A dark blue dress with some felt alphabet letters and solar system cut-outs sewn on should work nicely!