SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP)– Preschoolers at Square One’s Tommie Johnson Child & Family Center had a special treat on Thursday.

Dr. Michael Krupa, MiraVista Behavioral Health Center’s chief executive officer emeritus and a career licensed psychologist, read them the classic children’s book “Goodnight Moon.”

March is National Reading Month and March 19 is recognized as International Read to Me Day, an initiative to promote reading to young children.

“The joy and delight of reading can be available to everyone from earliest childhood through older age,” said Krupa who holds a doctorate in developmental and child psychology from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. “I remain grateful that I grew up in a family that valued books and all the adventures they held.”

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reading stories to very young children is essential for brain, language, and speech development. Educators suggest setting aside time every day for reading and make regular trips to the library to expose children to a variety of books and the importance of literacy.