February 23, 2023

Join Virginia Beach Read Across America Day Event March 3

Featuring video read with City Manager Patrick Duhaney and guests

The City of Virginia Beach will join the National Education Association (NEA) for a Read Across America Day celebration on Friday, March 3,,2023. Over 400 early education classrooms will participate in a community-wide read to over 6,500 children in 83 Virginia Beach early education Programs. The virtual read will be kicked off by City Manager Patrick Duhaney and features some local guests reading "The Word Collector." Volunteer guest readers will also share the book in-person in classrooms across the community.

"Early language is the strongest single predictor of cognitive development," said Barb Lito, Virginia Beach GrowSmart coordinator. "Children's vocabulary skills are linked to the quantity of interactions they experience in preschool classrooms and home settings. Committed families, early educators and communities can make a huge difference in children's reading ability. Reading, talking and singing with children supports their development and school readiness."

This year's event will feature the book "The Word Collector" by Peter H. Reynolds, which highlights the power of words to transform, inspire, educate and connect our children and community. Our video read will include some familiar locations where you can collect words: our community recreation centers, early learning programs, schools and libraries. We know words have the power to inspire our children to love reading and discovering new words.

"Celebrating the joy of reading as a community helps inspire children to read, which is an important factor in creating life-long successful readers," shared Lito. "Research has shown that children who enjoy reading are motivated, spend more time reading and do better in school. We want to prepare our children to be successful in their education and become future leaders in the 21st century."

As a member of the National Campaign for Grade Level Reading, Virginia Beach READS focuses on three pillars of success proven to directly impact reading proficiency. By emphasizing the importance of kindergarten readiness, summer learning and daily attendance, Virginia Beach READS is committed to moving the needle on third grade reading.

Community partners include Virginia Beach City Public Schools, Virginia Beach Public Libraries, Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation, Virginia Beach Department of Health, Office of Volunteer Resources, Square One and Virginia Beach GrowSmart.

Over 6,500 books will be provided to young children across our community thanks to the generous support of Anthem Healthkeeper's Plus and the Virginia Beach GrowSmart Foundation. The 2023 video will be available on VBTV and at www.vbgrowsmart.com/read-across-america.


GrowSmart is operated through the Virginia Beach Department of Economic Development. GrowSmart exists to promote and improve the healthy development, school readiness and reading proficiency of young children ages 0-8. In addition to providing resources for parents and families, GrowSmart also offers programming to ensure the availability of high-quality early education. Visit www.vbgrowsmart.com for more information.

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