NEA, Delta Dental Of Ohio Celebrate Read Across America By Asking Students To Grab Their Hats And Read With The Cat
WASHINGTON — February 20, 2014 — The Cat in the Hat is back in Ohio, and he’s revving up his engines to get kids excited about reading—and brushing their teeth!
This year’s official Read Across America celebrations will start in Seuss-tastic style when NEA’s Cat-a-Van Reading Tour hits the road on February 24, and will cover more than 20 cities—including three cities in Ohio—before capping off its three-week, 4,000-mile journey on March 14. The special Cat-a-Van Reading Tour, sponsored by the National Education Association and Delta Dental of Ohio will visit thousands of school children along the special reading route to deliver a very important message to students: 2 x 2 + 20 = good oral health and literacy habits.
The campaign is designed to increase the awareness around good oral health and literacy habits by asking children and their parents to brush for two minutes, two times per day, and read for 20 minutes each day for a daily total of 24 minutes. Reports show that American students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems. In fact, tooth decay continues to be the single most common chronic childhood illness—about five times more common than asthma.
“Educators know that students need to come to school ready and able to learn, and students who are absent from class due to health problems are missing out on critical instruction time,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “Everyone from Horton to the Grinch can benefit from developing good oral health and reading habits.”
Recent findings out of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC showed students who experience oral health pain are four times more likely to have lower grade point averages. Still other studies reveal that students who don’t read at grade level by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school.
More than 20 cities will be visited by the famous Cat in the Hat on NEA’s Cat-a-Van Reading Tour. Stops along the reading route in Ohio include Reynoldsburg and Hilliard in the greater Columbus area, as well as Akron.
As part of NEA’s Cat-a-Van Reading Tour, more than 30,000 special stovepipe “reading” hats, books and toothbrushes plus other goodies like tooth timers will be distributed to students to keep them reading and brushing at home. Delta Dental of Ohio also will be distributing more than $15,000 in grants to the libraries and media centers of the public schools visited by the Cat-a-Van Reading Tour to help keep their libraries stocked with books and other reading inspiration.
Originally created as a one-day event to celebrate the joy of reading, NEA’s Read Across America was founded by NEA and Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., and has grown into a nationwide initiative that promotes reading every day. Now in its 17th year, more than 45 million people young and old participate annually in the literacy program. Since Dr. Seuss’s March 2nd birthday falls on a Sunday this year, the official Read Across America Day will be celebrated Monday, March 3 to allow schools nationwide to participate in the reading fun.
“The success behind NEA’s Read Across America is that it gets kids excited about reading,” added Van Roekel. “When children love to the read, Oh, the places they can go!”
The Ohio Education Association (ohea.org) represents 121,000 teachers, faculty members and support professionals in Ohio’s public schools, colleges and universities.
CONTACT: Michele Prater
614-227-3071; cell 614-378-0469, firstname.lastname@example.org
Staci Maiers, National Education Association
(202) 822-7150; cell 202-270-5333, email@example.com
Claire Doroh, Delta Dental of Ohio
517-347-530; cell 517-927-2130, firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at www.nea.org.
About Delta Dental of Ohio
Delta Dental of Ohio, with its affiliates in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Mexico, North Carolina and Tennessee collectively are among the largest dental plan administrators in the nation. In 2012, the enterprise paid out nearly $3 billion for dental treatment to 11 million enrollees. Offices are located in Cincinnati, Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Sherwood and Little Rock, Ark.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Louisville, Ky.; Okemos and Farmington Hills, Mich.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.; and Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn.
For more information about NEA’s Read Across America, visit www.nea.org/readacross
Find us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/neareadacrossamerica
For classroom resources focused on oral health and literacy, go to www.deltadentaloh.com/teachingtools
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