Read Across Maryland
Our work as educators depends on many things: adequate funding, supportive administrators, parents, elected officials, and communities, safe, modern school facilities, and so much more. But encouraging literacy and kids who are strong, passionate readers is also critical to the success of our students and schools. That’s why MSEA and many local associations are such strong supporters of Read Across America and Read Across Maryland month every March. MSEA’s special Radical Readers program targets middle schoolers, encouraging them to read as much as possible during March.
MSEA has participated in NEA’s Read Across America program since it began in 1997. Every March 2—Dr. Seuss’ birthday—a Green Eggs and Ham breakfast is held at an Annapolis restaurant with students from Annapolis elementary schools as special guests. The children are treated to a reading of Green Eggs and Ham from an elected official and receive a bag full of goodies, including a Dr. Seuss book. That same day, the Cat in the Hat pays a special visit to the State House. Along with MSEA’s president, the Cat receives a special resolution from the House Speaker and Senate President. Members of the Maryland General Assembly take their pictures with the Cat while donating books to a school of their choice.
MSEA has worked with partners like the Maryland State Department of Education, the Maryland Library Association, the Maryland Association of School Librarians, the Prince George’s County Memorial Library, Radio One, and local state elected officials to celebrate all month long. Maryland residents and especially students are encouraged to make reading a priority by reading at least 30 minutes a day throughout the month.
Radical Readers is an MSEA program exclusively for middle school students to encourage them to be radical enough to forget about peer pressure and other distractions and get hooked on the joy of reading. Since 2007, MSEA has donated lots of prizes—and lots of pizza—to help inspire middle school students to embrace the power of reading. Students are challenged to read at least 30 minutes each day through the month of March. The students who read the most win prizes and receive a visit from the governor. All participants are acknowledged with special recognitions.
In 2006, middle school educator Clara Floyd became the first African American woman elected as MSEA’s president. A strong activist and consistent advocate for all public school children, she never lost sight of the fact that at the end of the day, “it’s all about the kids.” To honor her passion, MSEA, the Baltimore Teachers Union, the American Federation of Teachers, and First Book have joined in partnership to launch All About the Kids—the Clara Floyd Early Literacy Program. The program will focus on providing at least three free books to pre- school and kindergarten students in needy schools in Baltimore City.