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NEA’s Annual Read Across America Reading Tour Takes Flight

Southwest Airlines the official airline of NEA’s 19th Annual Read Across America Day

WASHINGTON - February 26, 2016 -

The National Education Association (NEA) is taking flight with Southwest Airlines for this year’s annual Read Across America (RAA) program. Southwest Airlines is the official airline of NEA’s Read Across America, the annual celebration of reading that honors the March 2nd birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Dr. Seuss. This year marks the 19th national Read Across America celebration in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises and includes a six-city reading tour. The program engages an estimated 45 million educators, parents, and students nationwide with school and community celebrations coast to coast.

“Every year on NEA’s Read Across America Day, the imaginations of children across the country are ignited when they open up a good book,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “And this year we are excited to announce our partnership with Southwest Airlines!”

NEA members and schools across the nation host school and community events on March 2nd designed to pay homage to the beloved children’s book author and get young people excited about reading. This year the NEA will be making a stop in Dr. Seuss’ hometown of San Diego on his birthday. Because this year’s feature book is Dr. Seuss’ recently released What Pet Should I Get?, NEA is teaming up with the San Diego Humane Society to host a purrfect reading celebration for local school children. The party will feature activity stations highlighting pet adoption and the importance of pet responsibility, entertainment, and an appearance by the Cat in the Hat and his friends, Thing 1 and Thing 2.

“Dr. Seuss would be tickled by the fact that there was a large reading celebration taking place in his hometown of San Diego on his birthday,” said Susan Brandt, President of Licensing and Marketing at Dr. Seuss Enterprises. “Being an animal lover, he would also be delighted by the fact that the reading celebration was taking place among local animals available for adoption.”

“While we take a fun and lighthearted approach to our Read Across America celebrations, we do so with a serious purpose in mind: to encourage a love of reading,” added Eskelsen García. “As educators, we know that students who read—and are read to—do better in school and in life. We’re honored that Southwest shares our commitment to cultivating in students a lifelong desire to read.”

The RAA Reading Tour will board Southwest Airlines and make stops in:
  • Dallas, February 26
  • Nashville, February 29
  • Phoenix, March 1
  • San Diego, March 2
  • Denver, March 3
  • Atlanta, March 4
  • "Southwest Airlines is proud to be the official airline of the NEA's 19th Annual Read Across America Day," said Southwest Airlines' Manager of Community Affairs & Grassroots, Lidia S. Martinez. "We believe in connecting people to what's important in their lives, and through our community partnership with the NEA, we hope to connect students throughout the country to a lifelong passion for reading."

    Read Across America has more than 50 national partners, including the American Library Association, the National Parent Teacher Association, NFL Players Association, Reading is Fundamental, Screen Actors Guild Foundation, Random House Children’s Books, Reading Rockets, United Through Reading, Heart of America Foundation, First Book, and Youth Service America.

    Since 1997, NEA’s Read Across America program has attracted some of the biggest names in politics, entertainment, and sports to help children discover the joy of reading. In addition to First Lady Michelle Obama, past celebrity participants have included Jessica Alba, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver, Mehcad Brooks, Carrie Underwood, Gwyneth Paltrow, Alex Rodriguez, Serena Williams, Selena Gomez, Shaquille O’Neal, and many others.

    “This national celebration is not just about one hour or one day of reading, it is about cultivating a lifetime of good reading habits that will translate into academic success,” said Eskelsen García. “NEA’s Read Across America brings students, parents, educators, and the entire community together to share the joy of reading.”

    For more information on NEA’s Read Across America, visit:

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    The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

    About Dr. Seuss
    Theodor “Seuss” Geisel is quite simply the most beloved children’s book author of all time. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, an Academy Award, three Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards and three Caldecott Honors, Geisel wrote and illustrated 45 books for children. Hundreds of millions of copies have found their way into homes and hearts around the world. While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading.

    Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.
    The primary focus of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P. is to protect the integrity of the Dr. Seuss books while expanding beyond books into ancillary areas. This effort is a strategic part of the overall mission to nurture and safeguard the relationship people have with Dr. Seuss characters. Theodor Seuss Geisel (Dr. Seuss) said he never wanted to license his characters to anyone who would “round out the edges.” That is one of the guiding philosophies of Dr. Seuss Enterprises. Audrey S. Geisel, the widow of Dr. Seuss, heads Dr. Seuss Enterprises as CEO.

CONTACT: Celeste Busser
(202) 822-7823,


NEA's Read Across America Reading Tour 2016