Online registration is now open for the 25th annual America Reads: Reading is Contagious literacy celebration. The program is designed to shine a spotlight on the importance of reading to young children to improve literacy and demonstrate the joy of reading through collective citizen involvement. In the Cedar Rapids metro area, it has become an annual fall tradition, bringing hundreds of volunteers into area schools to share a favorite book with students.

America Reads: Reading is Contagious 2022 will be held on Thursday, October 20 (at Marion Independent and Xavier Catholic) and on Friday, October 21 (at Cedar Rapids Community, College Community, and Linn-Mar Community).

Developed and launched in 1997, the initiative is a collaborative effort between the school districts listed above, as well as six public libraries: Cedar Rapids, Ely, Fairfax, Hiawatha, Marion, and Swisher.

Generally, more than 2,500 guest readers visit elementary schools over the two-day period. Some 16,000 students benefit from exposure to enthusiastic readers. Volunteer readers include everyone from community/business representatives, parents, family members, and local “celebrities.” Each volunteer reads a favorite story to a child, a small group of children, or an entire classroom of students.

Numerous studies indicate that children who have been read to regularly become good readers. Reading just 30 minutes a day with a child can significantly increase a child’s reading ability. This community initiative brings awareness to the importance of reading and ignites a love of reading.

The online registration for America Reads has closed. If you would still like to read, please reach out to your building to see if they have reader openings.