10 Creative and Fun Ways to Celebrate Read Across America Day

Every year, I look forward to a special day on my calendar – Read Across America Day! This is a day where my students and I celebrate the joy of books and our love of reading! I like to make this day a little “extra” by planning creative reading activities for my students to enjoy! Here are 10 of my favorite ways to make Read Across America Day fun for your students… and honestly, fun for you too!

Use these fun and easy activities to celebrate Read Across America Day with your students this year.

1. Invite Guest Readers

Having fresh faces coming into my classroom to read to my students is a really easy way to celebrate this day!  Since Read Across America Day is on March 2nd, I always start scouting around in mid-February to find people who would love to read to my students.
Inviting a guest reader to your classroom like a principal or parent is a great way to build excitement for Read Across America Day!
Who could you invite to come read?
  • Your Principal or Vice Principal
  • Other teachers such as Music or Art
  • Bus Drivers or Cafeteria Staff
  • Parents of your students
  • Other community members

Pretty much anyone your students would be excited to see in your room would be perfect!  Special Guest Readers could bring their own favorite book to read, but also have a basket of books handy just in case they don’t. 

Want to work in some real-life writing experience as well?  After your Guest Reader has left, ask students to draw a picture or write a letter as a “Thank You” to your Special Guest!  

2. Have a Picture Book Scavenger Hunt

Get your students excited about reading lots of books on this day by having a Picture Book Scavenger Hunt!  Give students access to a large number of picture books (organized in baskets, on tops of tables, etc…) and a Scavenger Hunt Recording Page.  
On the Recording Page, students are given items to find in the books.  For example, students might be asked to “Find a book with an animal”.  Students would look through books trying to find a page that contains an animal.  If they find an animal, write the name of the book on their Recording Page.  If they don’t, put that book down and try another!
A picture book scavenger hunt is a great way to build excitement for Read Across America Day.
Students will continue working through the page until they have found a book for each item.  Grab my free Recording Page to help you easily implement this fun activity!
This Picture Book Scavenger Hunt is a great way to get kids looking at books they might not normally choose to read themselves!  In fact, they might be surprised to find a new favorite during all that searching!

3. Track Books Read with a Sticker Chart

Keeping kids motivated to do something is often as simple as a sticker! Show students how they can keep track of how many books they have read with a cute sticker chart!
Use sticker charts like these to help students keep track of their reading during Read Across America Day celebrations.
Let your students know that this will be a whole class chart where everyone works together as a team to achieve the goal of reading 120 books!  Students will feel so much pride as they get to “help the class” by putting up one sticker for each book they read (books read by you to the whole class count too)!

4. Hold a Book Character Dress Up Day

Ok, I have to admit… Dressing up as a book character I love is definitely my favorite activity for Read Across America Day!  What could infuse more fun into your school day than dressing up?!
I always give my students a heads up the week before to give them time to choose a character and plan their outfits.  Remind your students that their outfit doesn’t need to require money, just some creativity, and imagination!
One of my favorite ways to celebrate Read Across America Day is with a book character dress up day.
Encourage students to bring an actual copy of the book in which their character appears.  If they can bring the book, allow students to read it to the class (for short picture books) or simply read their favorite page or two (for longer chapter books).
And don’t forget your outfit!  It’s more fun when the teacher dresses up too! 

5. Play Book Bingo

Since the purpose of Read Across America Day is to celebrate reading, it makes sense to read as many amazing books as possible that day!  One easy way to do that is with a little game of Book Bingo.  
A BINGO book board is a great way to get your students excited to read a ton of books while celebrating Read Across America Day.
Make up your own Bingo card by using an empty template and adding different genres of books or certain characteristics in each square.  Ideas could include:
  • talking animals
  • mystery
  • nonfiction
  • fairy tale
  • funny book
If you are pressed for time and can’t make your own, grab the free Bingo Card I use in my classroom and get started!
Students will read and mark the coordinating space as they finish each book.  Students who complete BINGO could get a prize like a pencil, bookmark, or a little extra recess time.

6. Have a Bookmark-Making Contest

Read Across America Day should definitely have reading activities, but also consider ideas that don’t involve reading but still relate to your theme.  A great way to let your students be creative without text is to hold a Bookmark-making contest! 
What better way to celebrate Read Across America Day than with a bookmark like these? I turn our bookmark making activity into a friendly class competition my students absolutely love!
Give students strips of cardstock/construction paper, crayons, and stickers, and let them create reading/book-inspired bookmarks!  They can draw and color pictures about reading or write fun sayings to inspire others to read more.  It’s totally up to your students how they want to design their bookmarks.
When finished, laminate the bookmarks (packing tape also works) and allow students to vote on which one is their favorite!  
Think students creating from scratch may take a little too much time?  Print out these adorable bookmarks and have a coloring contest instead! 

7. Hold a Book Tournament

For those who are fans of college basketball, the beginning of March is synonymous with March Madness, so why not hold a Book Tournament for your students? 
Choose 12 picture books to read to your class.  Ask students to fill out their brackets to see which book they think will win the title of “Book of the Year”.  Then get to reading!
Think March Madness, but with Books! This book bracket is a great visual way to get your students pumped about Read Across America Day this year.
After reading each set of 2 books, have the class vote on which book they liked better.  The book with the most votes moves on to the next bracket.  Continue reading until you have finished all 12 books, but feel free to take breaks in between sets of books so students don’t sit for too long. 
Once all the books have been read and a winner picked, have students share their brackets with the class.  Choose a fun prize for any student who had the winner picked on their bracket!  

8. Make a Book Buddies Date

Reading isn’t just a silent activity.  Books are better with a buddy!  Schedule time with a teacher in another grade level to read to their students.  
Allow your students to choose a picture book they want to read to their Book Buddy.  Give them a few minutes to practice and even come up with a few questions to ask their buddy while reading.
Partnering with older or younger students for a book buddies activity helps students practice reading outloud to each other.

Older students benefit from reading to younger students as they get the chance to show off their reading skills and help mentor them.  Younger students benefit as they want to work hard to do their best reading and listening to their older “cool” Book Buddy.
It truly is a win/win situation and the sweet way your students treat their Book Buddy is worth the effort in getting them together!

9. Use Special Reading Accessories

A little something out of the ordinary is just the ticket for making Read Across America Day a special memory for your students!  So why not give your students the chance to read in a different way?
A reading accessory like a stuffed animal, flashlight, pillow, or silly glasses can help students get excited about reading during Read Across America Day celebrations
Let your students bring items from home (or you could provide them) and read around the classroom!  Items could include:
  • flashlight and a pillow (with the lights turned down!)
  • a favorite stuffed animal to read to
  • a fun pair of silly sunglasses
  • a magnifying glass

Curling up with a good book instead of sitting at a desk is a simple way to show students that reading can be an enjoyable experience!

10. Create Interest in Reading with a Book Tasting

With a few red tablecloths from the Dollar Store and a stack of amazing books, students can participate in a Book Tasting that just may lead them to discover their next favorite book!
Set up your desks/tables to resemble a table at a nice restaurant.  Have different books out on each table and encourage students to “taste” each one by looking at the front cover, reading the back cover, and reading the first few pages of the book.  Students can move to different tables to get exposure to as many books as possible.
Set up tables with tablecloths and placemats for a "book tasting" adventure your students will love. It gives students the opportunity to sample books they may end up wanting to read.
Students should write down the book’s title and a few notes about how they feel about the book.  Feelings like:
  • Does this book interest me?
  • Would I be able to read this on my own and understand it?
  • Did the first few pages “hook” me?
  • Is this a book I would normally read or am I trying something new?
If you would like the actual Tasting Menu that I use with my students, you can grab this amazing freebie here!

Once students have “tasted” several books, ask them to choose 3 books they want to put on their “Reading Wish List” and allow them time to share with friends the books they are excited to read in the future!

Are You Ready for Read Across America Day?

I hope these ideas have gotten your wheels spinning for all the fun ways you can celebrate reading in your classroom! If you feel a bit overwhelmed, grab your Free packet that contains the printables I mentioned in this post to help you implement these ideas!  I want you to enjoy Read Across America Day without the planning stress!  

Pin These Read Across America Ideas for Later

If these ideas have gotten you excited to make this Read Across America Day the best one yet, then make sure you Pin this post to your favorite Teaching Pinterest Board!
Read Across America Day is just around the corner. Build excitement with fun and engaging activities your students will love. These 10 fun ways to celebrate Read Across America Day will keep everyone in the mood for reading during this special celebration. #readacrossamericaday #celebratingreadacrossamericaday #readacrossamericaday2022


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