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News Release, Maryland State Department of Education

BALTIMORE – The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood (DEC) will join millions of readers across the country to celebrate the annual Read Across America Day, held Monday, March 2, 2020.

In Maryland, the DEC will commemorate the nation’s largest literacy project by hosting a statewide Read Across America Story Palooza. Assistant State Superintendent of Early Childhood Education, Steven R. Hicks, will read to three, four and five-year-olds during two Facebook Live storytelling events on Monday, March 2 in Anne Arundel County at Community Christian Preschool and Wednesday, March 4 in Montgomery County at Takoma Park Child Development Center, both events start at 10 a.m. Steven Hicks’ Facebook Live storytelling events may be viewed at @MdEarlyChildhood.

In Baltimore City, at 10 a.m., the Office of Child Care Director, Jennifer Nizer, will read to three and four-year-olds at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Child Care Center where she served as director for over 15 years. Other DEC leadership and team members will celebrate the value of reading by hosting additional events at family child care homes, child care centers, head start programs, libraries, and Judy Center Early Learning Hubs throughout the state. The family child care homes and child care centers are all Maryland EXCELS participants. Maryland EXCELS is the state’s quality rating and improvement system for early education and child care programs. A link to the Maryland EXCELS website can be found here.

All book selections will focus on diversity, girls, or women to commemorate National Reading and National Women’s History Month in March. In addition, the book selections will honor Governor Hogan’s proclamation that 2020 is the Year of the Woman. A link to Governor Hogan’s proclamation can be found here.

According to a 2019 Journal of Development and Behavioral Pediatrics study, parents who read one book to their children every day expose them to an estimated 78,000 words each year. Parents who read five books to their children every day, over the five years before kindergarten, expose them to 1.4 million more words. A link to the study can be found here.

“Research consistently shows that families who read aloud to children from birth are better prepared to enter kindergarten,” said Dr. Karen Salmon, State Superintendent of Schools. “It is our hope that everyone in Maryland will participate in this worthwhile celebration by volunteering to read at a school or community center, donating children’s books to a local library, or simply reading to their children at home every day.”

For a full list of Maryland’s Read Across America Story Palooza reading events, please visit the events section on marylandfamiliesengage.org.


David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...