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2018.03.29 Read Across America Day: Reading Promotion Activities Over U.S.
In Japan, there are national events that encourage reading such as “Children’s Reading Day” on April 23, and “Reading Week” that takes place over two weeks around the Culture Day Holiday on November 3. In the United States, too, there are various days dedicated to reading, and one of them is the March 2 Read Across America Day. The event, advocated by America's largest educational organization, the National Education Association (NEA), aims to promote the joy of reading in children. 

Read Across America Day started in 1998 to celebrate the birth of "Dr. Seuss," the famous pseudonym of a picture book author likely known to anyone who has been brought up in the United States. With over 60 titles to his name, including "The Cat in the Hat" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" which have been translated into Japanese and other languages, Dr. Seuss' works are characterized by his iconic drawings and rhythmical rhyming verses. Many of his books—intended for elementary school and kindergarten ages—are deliberately written to make learning new words a fun process.

What kind of events are held on the day to boost reading? At many elementary schools, there are competitions on who reads the most books, as well as lessons on Dr. Seuss. There may be dress up events as characters in the books, and presenting favorite works to the class. Apart from these school events, some bookstores and toy stores organize Dr. Seuss storytelling and games sessions. 

Out of concern for the low literacy rate, Dr. Seuss created picture books that were memorable for their rhythmical text. Back in Japan, where elementary schools are expanding their English curriculum, Dr. Seuss books may be an idea for reading together at home.

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