Arizona Education Association

Spring 2017

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SPRING 2017 | ADVOCATE 17 Joining NEA were several of the nation's leading literacy organizations including Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and First Book along with actor, author and literacy advocate LeVar Burton and 12-year-old Marley Dias, an advocate for diversity in literature who founded #1000BlackGirlBooks. The event celebrated Dr. Seuss' 113th birthday, and kicked off the Association's national Read Across America campaign, during which an estimated 45 million educators, parents and students will participate in events nationwide. NEA's Read Across America Day originated in 1997 when an NEA reading task force suggested a day of reading to emphasize the fun and adventure of reading. NEA's first call for every child and every community to enjoy the benefits of reading took place on March 2, 1998, the birthday of Theodor Geisel, more commonly known as Dr. Seuss, who died in 1991. NEA's Read Across America is co-sponsored by Dr. Seuss Enterprises ("Cat in the Hat" is the Read Across America Day mascot) and Random House Children's Books. "NEA members rallied and organized reading events across the country, and the effort became the nation's largest celebration of reading," said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. "Since then, NEA's Read Across America has continued to generate enthusiasm for reading nationwide, always emphasizing the importance of motivating children to read." Marley Dias, a book lover who is on a mission to collect books about women of color through #1000BlackGirlBooks, and LeVar Burton, who hosts the long-running PBS children's series "Reading Rainbow," portrayed Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge in "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and starred as the young Kunta Kinte in the 1977 award-winning miniseries "Roots," joined NEA President Eskelsen García, children's book authors and 450 elementary school students for a lively celebration of reading. Wearing the classic Dr. Seuss red and white striped stovepipe hats, children were treated Arizona NEA Director Amber Gould and her student council students read to Joslyn Brown's 2nd grade students. AEA President Joe Thomas reads to preschool students at Granada Primary School.

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