SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Thursday is ‘Read Across America’ Day, the purpose of the day is to encourage reading across the country. It is also critical for children in western Massachusetts. ‘Read Across America’ is in it’s 25th year and it works to increase awareness about the importance, and fun, of getting into a good book.

‘Read Across America’ is celebrated throughout the country and here in western Massachusetts, many local libraries are holding their own events. Especially since ‘Read Across America’ Day falls on Dr. Suess’, AKA Theodor Geisel, birthday.

Laurie Flynn, President and CEO of the local non-profit Link to Libraries, said emphasizing literacy is important for children especially right now, “COVID actually had a profound impact on literacy rates here in western Massachusetts where we were all ready having some struggles. So just to give you an idea, about 70 percent of the children that we serve through Link to Libraries,. 70 percent of third graders – are not reading proficiently they are reading at grade level standards which is an outstandingly large number.”

Flynn added studies show that it’s never too young to start reading to your children, studies even show reading while pregnant can help. Local libraries are also a wonderful resource for families, and librarians can help find books that interest you.

She also said that it’s important for parents to model good reading behavior, so don’t feel guilty about settling in with a good book yourself.