Capitol Words a project of the Sunlight Foundation

  • and

Read Across America Day

Rep. Joe Courtney

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the resolution (H. Res. 1111) designating March 2, 2010, as ``Read Across America Day''.

The Clerk read the title of the resolution.

The text of the resolution is as follows:

Whereas reading is a basic requirement for quality education and professional success, and is a source of pleasure throughout life; Whereas the people of the United States must be able to read if the United States is to remain competitive in the global economy; Whereas Congress has placed great emphasis on reading intervention that has been proven effective through scientifically valid research and providing additional resources for reading assistance; and Whereas more than 50 national organizations concerned about reading and education have joined with the National Education Association to use March 2 to celebrate reading and the birth of Theodor Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives-- (1) honors Theodor Geisel, also known as Dr. Seuss, for his success in encouraging children to discover the joy of reading; (2) honors the 13th anniversary of Read Across America Day; (3) encourages parents to read with their children for at least 30 minutes on Read Across America Day in honor of the commitment of the House of Representatives to building a Nation of readers; and (4) encourages the people of the United States to observe the day with appropriate ceremonies and activities.

Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Courtney) and the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Thompson) each will control 20 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Connecticut.

Rep. Joe Courtney

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I request 5 legislative days during which Members may revise and extend their remarks and insert extraneous material on House Resolution 1111 into the Record.

Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from Connecticut?

There was no objection.

Rep. Joe Courtney

legislator photo

I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 1111, which recognizes March 2, 2010, as Read Across America Day and which encourages parents to read to their children in support of building a Nation of readers.

Read Across America Day was initiated in May 1998 by the National Education Association as a way to celebrate reading. The NEA provides support to parents and teachers to keep their children reading all year long through activities such as the Cat-A-Van. The Cat-A-Van travels across the country bringing the gift of reading to schoolchildren. The Cat-A-Van donates 20,000 books to children in need.

The NEA celebrates Read Across America Day on Dr. Seuss' birthday each year in honor of a man who contributed tremendously to children's literacy. Theodor Geisel, better known as ``Dr. Seuss'' by millions of children and parents around the world, began writing children's books in 1936, and has since inspired millions of children to embrace the joys of readings through such favorites as ``The Cat in the Hat,'' ``Green Eggs and Ham,'' and ``Oh, the Places You'll Go.''

We know from research that children who are exposed to reading before kindergarten become more successful readers. We also know that a child who fails at reading is more likely to drop out of school. Today, nearly 6 million adolescents are struggling readers, and more than 7,000 students drop out of high school every day. This is unacceptable. Engaging children and reading to them when they are young will encourage them to read and to achieve more as adolescents and as adults.

This data demonstrates the importance of literacy and the value of Read Across America. This critical literacy project is supported by a range of partners, including the District of Columbia's the Afterschool Alliance, ASPIRA Association, Incorporated, and First Book. The NEA, along with the Pearson Foundation, has donated $100,000 in funds and books to public school libraries across our country as 45 million children and adults are expected to participate in this year's 2010 program.

I want to particularly thank Representatives Markey and Ehlers for bringing this measure forward, and I encourage my colleagues to support this resolution.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Glenn Thompson

legislator photo

I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of House Resolution 1111, designating March 2, 2010, as ``Read Across America Day.''

Once upon a time, when there were no televisions or computers, reading was a primary leisure activity. People would spend hours reading books and using their imaginations to travel to lands far away. Today, many people do not have the same passion to read. This is unfortunate because reading offers a productive approach to improving vocabulary and word power.

Indulging in reading on a daily basis helps keep adults and children abreast of the various styles of writing and new vocabulary. Children who start reading from an early age are observed to have good language skills and to grasp the variances in phonics much better. Research has shown that children and teenagers who love reading have comparatively higher IQs and that they are more creative and excel in school and college.

Reading is an activity that involves greater levels of concentration, and it adds to the conversational skills of the reader. It is an indulgence that enhances the knowledge acquired consistently. The habit of reading also helps readers to decipher new words and phrases that they come across in everyday conversations. It helps us to stay in touch with contemporary writers as well as those from yesteryear.

Theodor Geisel, more famously known as ``Dr. Seuss,'' is the most beloved children's book author of all time. His titles include ``Green Eggs and Ham,'' ``Fox in Socks,'' and ``The Cat in the Hat.'' His use of rhymes makes his books an effective tool for teaching young children the basic tools they need to be successful and to develop a lifelong love of reading. Celebrating both Dr. Seuss and reading sends a clear message to our children that reading is both fun and important.

I thank my colleague from Colorado (Ms. Markey) and my colleague from Michigan (Mr. Ehlers) for sponsoring this resolution, and I ask that all of my colleagues support its passage.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Joe Courtney

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the sponsor of this legislation, the gentlewoman from Colorado, Congresswoman Betsy Markey.

Rep. Betsy Markey

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of a cat who is known worldwide for his red and white hat; in support of a fox who liked to wear socks, and his game-playing friend called Mr. Knox; in support of an elephant, Horton, who hears a Who, and a human, Mr. Brown, who proves he can moo; in support of those who hopped on pop, and the dad who yelled at them to stop; in support of those amusing sidekicks Thing One and Thing Two, and all of those folks with the last name of Who; in support of Marvin K. Mooney, who just wouldn't go, and those multiple colored fish we all know; in support of Cindy Lou Who and that mean, old Grinch, and the Lorax who speaks for the trees in a pinch.

These characters taught our children to read. In the field of children's literacy, Dr. Seuss took the lead.

Through the power of green eggs and ham, our children exclaim, ``I can read, Sam I am.''

Mr. Speaker, I come before the House today not to emulate Dr. Seuss but to honor his legacy with Read Across America Day. Today, March 2, would be Theodor Seuss Geisel's 106th birthday. This resolution honors his birth, and it promotes children's literacy by designating today as Read Across America Day.

I would like to thank my colleague, Congressman Ehlers, for his work with me on this resolution.

In schools across America today, millions of children will participate in Seussational reading events.

Reading skills are the keystone for future educational success, and it is critical that our children begin reading at a young age. I remember how my own children's eyes would light up with each book we read. My resolution encourages parents to read to their children for at least 30 minutes a day because, as Dr. Seuss himself said, ``The more that you read, the more things you will know; the more that you learn, the more places you will go.''

I have high hopes for this Nation's children and all the places that they will go. I urge all of my colleagues to vote ``yes'' on House Resolution 1111 and to celebrate Read Across America Day.

Rep. Glenn Thompson

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, having no further requests for time, I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. Joe Courtney

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Connecticut (Mr. Courtney) that the House suspend the rules and agree to the resolution, H. Res. 1111.

The question was taken.

In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.

Rep. Joe Courtney

legislator photo

Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not present.

Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX and the Chair's prior announcement, further proceedings on this motion will be postponed.

The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.