If you’ve ever shared a book with a child, you know the joy and excitement this small but meaningful act can bring. However, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, since 1993 only 53 to 58 percent of children ages 3 to 5 receive this joy on a daily basis.

We can do better. Simply reading daily with a child requires parents, older brothers and sisters or other caring adults to add yet another hat to the many they already wear to care for and raise a child. Adding the reading hat to your collection also adds great rewards.

• Children who are read to at home have a higher success rate in school.

• Children who read frequently develop stronger reading skills.

To get kids excited about reading and encourage more adults to spend time reading with their children, the National Education Association (NEA) launched the first NEA’s Read Across America day in 1998. On March 2, 2016, NEA’s Read Across America will mark 19 years of celebrating reading and the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

So from coast to coast, teachers, celebrities, community members and parents are putting aside the many hats they wear for work and play and donning their reading hats. Here in Dyersville, you can be a part of the movement, too. Contact us to be a guest reader here in the community, donate books that are given out at well-child exams or see how you can help at the next family literacy night. In bringing a nation of readers together under one hat, Read Across America offers opportunities and awareness for you to volunteer, read and share your life experiences. It also offers opportunities for businesses to contribute products to congratulate young readers and for employees to volunteer time at reading programs, as well as opportunities for our elected officials, from the local to the state and national level, to make reading a high priority.

Let’s all join together on March 2, and every day thereafter, to ensure that Dyersville’s children have caring adults to share books and rich reading experiences.

Jessica Pape can be reached at jpape1112@gmail.com