It’s Read Across America Day – a day set aside to encourage every person in America to read or be read to for fun. This annual nationwide observance coincides with the birthday of Dr. Seuss, the American writer best known for creating children’s books and inspiring the love of reading in four generations of kids.
The beloved Doc died in 1991, six years before the first Read Across America Day, and while he would most likely have been tickled with the event, the state of reading in America may have him rolling over in his grave.
A 2007 report by the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), shows reading literacy has dropped since Seuss was alive. To Read or Not To Read: A Question of National Consequence gathered statistics from more than 40 studies on the reading skills and habits of Americans of all ages. The report unveiled trends that Americans are reading less, reading less well, and graduating from school less prepared.
According to the official website of Dr. Seuss, a few weeks before his death, when asked if there was anything he might have left unsaid, Seuss replied, “Any message or slogan? Whenever things go a bit sour in a job I’m doing, I always tell myself, ‘You can do better than this.’ The best slogan I can think of to leave with the kids of the U.S.A. would be ‘We can…and we’ve got to…do better than this.”