SOUTHFIELD (WWJ)- In a effort to get kids to read more, the National Education Association has kicked off Reading Across America.

For the past 17 years, association President Dennis Van Roekel and his group of educators have blanketed the country annually to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

They brings the book right to their target audience.

Van Roekel spoke with WWJ and said steps like these are key in early educational development.

“What we know about students who are read to and read to others at a early age, it increases their student achievement and really life in general,” he said.

Van Roekel and the NEA will travel over 4,000 miles and visit 30 cities, turning pages with students. Kindles and iPads are not allowed.

This trip isn’t just about reading though — it features style. They travel in a “Cat-A-Van” and the van comes bearing gifts.

“We visit mainly elementary schools,” Van Roekel said. “We usually leave a check and/or books as the contribution to the library.”

In the end, Van Roekel said it’s all about showing the importance of reading in everyday life.

“It’s really to celebrate reading and all of the benefits it can have,” Van Roekel said.

He has traveled to schools in Livonia and Southfield and will be in Grand Rapids on Tuesday.


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