By Rep. Kristi Noem
People across South Dakota turn to books for entertainment, knowledge and relaxation after a long day and the Noem family is no different. Ever since my three kids were young, we've made it a priority to spend time reading as a family. It's been a real blessing to see my kids grow up and learn to enjoy reading on their own. I also try to make reading a priority in my life. Although schedules can be busy, there's something to be said about enjoying a good book from time-to-time.
I'll be celebrating this year's "Read Across America" Day by reading a few books to second graders at McKinley Elementary School in Watertown. Last year I enjoyed participating in this event while reading to students in elementary classrooms in Hayti and Brookings. I also spent time in Madison that day for part of their Pride Days celebration.
An event held across the country, Read Across America is held in honor of Theodor Geisel, but most of us know him as Dr. Seuss. Themes from "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" and "Are You My Mother?" bond grandparents with grandkids, and teachers with students.
There are ways we can all encourage children to pick up a book instead of watching another show on television. For example, we can set a good example by making reading a priority in our own lives or by taking field trips to the local library. It's also important to keep lots of books and magazines around the house for kids to pick up and start reading.
Read Across America Day started on March 2, 1998 as an annual event to raise awareness about encouraging our young students to pick up a book and read. When kids are eager and excited to read, this sets up an attitude and excitement towards lifelong learning and starts a path towards success as they go through school.
As Dr. Seuss so wisely wrote, "You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go." I hope you'll join me in participating in Read Across America Day and would encourage you to send me a picture of you reading with your kids. Contact information for my offices is listed below:
Sioux Falls: 605-275-2868 / Watertown: 605-878-2868 / Aberdeen: 605-262-2862 / Rapid City: 605-791-4673 / Washington, D.C.: 202-225-2801 / Toll-Free: 1-855-225-2801