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Mar 1, 2018 |

As the calendar turns to March, there is much anticipation! Days are getting longer and warmer as spring nears. And at elementary schools across the United States, students and teachers will eat green eggs and ham, wear striped stovepipe hats, and make gooey green oobleck. March 2 is National Education Association's Read Across America Day, and many school children will celebrate with the works of Dr. Seuss!

Read Across America Day kicks off National Reading Month. Throughout March, practitioners can celebrate the joys of reading with students and families! As literacy professionals, it is easy for us to get excited about reading books aloud in our classrooms and programs. However, students and families do not always read aloud together at home. The Scholastic Kids and Family Reading Report (2015) revealed that while parents and caregivers often read aloud to young children, the numbers decline sharply as young people grow older. Only 59% of children ages 6 to 8 have an adult read to them at home three or more days per week; this number drops to 29% for children ages 9 to 11.

National Reading Month presents an opportunity to remind parents and caregivers to read with children of all ages at home. Here are some ideas for celebrating National Reading Month while focusing on the importance of reading aloud together.

Click image to download NCFL's Family Learning Event Guide
Click image to download NCFL's Family Learning Event Guide.
  • Host a family literacy event. 
  • Model for parents and caregivers how to read aloud books with their children. Focus on an interactive read-aloud that shows parents how to have conversations around books. NCFL offers a free Family Learning Event Guide to help with planning.
  • Issue a reading challenge. Choose a short chapter book that is suitable for your audience and encourage everyone to read together. To kick-off Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®, ask trivia questions about the book and give away prizes to encourage everyone to participate. Then lead a brief discussion of the book.
  • If your program includes English learners or emergent adult readers, use Parent Time to model reading with wordless picture books. Teach them how to create their own stories to match the pictures. Provide them with opportunities to practice with one another so that they feel confident in reading with their children at home.
  • Partner with your local library. Plan for families to visit the library together. Everyone can sign up for library cards, take a tour, and take part in a read-aloud with the librarian.
  • Consider a Family Service Learning project that focuses on reading. Families could practice reading books aloud and then share them with patients at a local children’s hospital or nursing home.


Scholastic (2015) found that 83% of young people age 6 to 17 enjoyed listening to books read aloud at home.

As practitioners, let’s work together during National Reading Month to spread the word: Children of all ages love reading aloud with their families. 

How will you promote family read alouds in your setting during March? Share your ideas in the comments below to inspire others.


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NCFL Partners

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Toyota Family Learning Program

Toyota, one of the nation's most successful corporations, began a partnership with NCFL in 1991. In addition to a commitment of more than $50 million, Toyota has also contributed a wealth of in-kind support — including advertising, planning and management expertise — to form one of the most progressive corporate/nonprofit partnerships in the nation.

Three major programs have been developed through the Toyota partnership based on the family literacy model of parents and children learning together. These models have influenced federal and state legislation, leveraged local dollars to support family literacy and led to successful programs being replicated across the country.

Read more about Toyota's commitment to communities

Dollar General Literacy Foundation

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation began partnering with NCFL in 2006. A signature effort of this partnership is the National Literacy Directory, a resource that launched in 2010 and strives to reach the 35.7 million adults ages 18-64 who do not have a high school diploma by guiding them to better-paying, more stable jobs.

The National Literacy Directory contains over 10,000 educational agencies located across the United States and has a dedicated toll-free number to help support those wanting to pursue educational opportunities in their communities.

Dollar General also provides support for development of NCFL’s innovative family learning resources centered on financial literacy and Parent and Child Together (PACT) Time®.

Go to Dollar General Literacy Foundation's website

PNC Grow Up Great

PNC Grow Up Great believes deeply in the power of high-quality early childhood education and provides innovative opportunities that assist families, educators and community organizations to enhance children's learning and development.

PNC Grow Up Great has partnered with NCFL since 1994 to advance early literacy and learning resources for vulnerable families. Current efforts supported by PNC include a collaborative initiative in two at-risk Detroit communities that engages families to support vocabulary development for children under age 5.

NCFL's work is also featured on the PNC Grow Up Great Lesson Center website. The Lesson Center includes over 100 free, high-quality preschool lesson plans and research-based instructional techniques and strategies. All lesson plans contain Home/School Connections printouts, in English and Spanish, to help families extend and reinforce the learning at home.

PNC Grow Up Great

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

NCFL has partnered with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation since January 2016. The Foundation is currently supporting a dynamic two-generation family engagement initiative that expands NCFL's Family Learning model into select Head Start programs nationwide. NCFL's model presents an innovative way to support Head Start programs in meeting outcomes aligned with the Parent, Family, and Community Engagement Framework.

Visit the Foundation website

Better World Books

Better World Books selected NCFL as its domestic literacy partner in 2005 and has raised more than $1 million to support NCFL’s work and donated more than $15 million to support literacy and education efforts worldwide. Better World Books is a triple-bottom-line online bookstore, working equally for people, planet and profit. Each book purchased powers literacy across the world.

Better World Books’ support of NCFL has provided books and workshops to families after Hurricane Katrina, donated large book donations to literacy programs and families nationwide and fueled innovative family literacy and learning programs and resources in libraries, schools and community-based organizations. In addition to their work for literacy and education, Better World Books diverts books from landfills and offers carbon-balanced shipping.

Better World Books

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

In 2013, NCFL began a partnership with the Gates Foundation to ensure that our network of students, teachers, and families thrive among recent shifts in standards-based education. NCFL will leverage the unique strengths of our award-winning Wonderopolis® platform to build upon the growing teacher network that uses the resource for core daily instruction and as a basis for professional growth.

Foundation Website

Goodling Institute

NCFL has partnered with the Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University since 2001, working collaboratively to further research, professional development, and policy efforts for family literacy and intergenerational learning.

The work of this partnership includes, but is not limited to, a strong research strand at NCFL's national annual convening, the Families Learning Summit; advocacy for family literacy and learning to further support for and inclusion of family-focused education in new and ongoing legislation; and dissemination of the latest research, resources, information, and professional development opportunities for literacy and learning practitioners and advocates, including the Certificate in Family Literacy provided by the Goodling Institute.

Goodling Institute for Research and Family Literacy at Penn State University