Ask Amy: New holiday tradition revolves around reading

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Thursday, December 9, 2010; 12:00 AM

Dear Readers: My first book was Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham." My family's copy landed in my hands after my older siblings had practically read the covers off of it.

My mother read it aloud to me (repeatedly) until I finally unlocked the code and started to read by myself.

Everybody has a first book; or, rather, everybody should have a first book.

Unfortunately, in a season that has already seen record-setting pre-orders for a video game, statistics on reading and literacy are alarming:

According to literacy organizations, less than half of young children in this country are read to regularly. A high percentage of American families have no children's books in the home.

This holiday season I am putting my column where my heart is, and so I'm asking "Ask Amy" readers to celebrate by giving a book to a child, through a homegrown campaign called, "A Book on Every Bed."

Here's how it works:

Take a book. Wrap it. Place it on a child's bed so it's the first thing she sees on Christmas morning (or whatever holiday you celebrate). That's it.

I'm working with the Family Reading Partnership, a literacy organization in my home town of Ithaca, N.Y., to spread the word about the importance of reading with children.

A million stories: Our goal is for a million American children to wake up to a wrapped book on their beds.

This is not a fundraising appeal. This is not about buying books (the book you give can be passed down).

"A Book on Every Bed" is an appeal to spread the love of reading from parents to children. We also want to encourage families to share books by reading aloud.


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