JMU expert highlights importance of reading ahead of Dr. Seuss’s birthday

HARRISONBURG, Va. — Literacy skills form the foundation of all learning, a James Madison University education professor says as Read Across America Day approaches on Saturday.  

Proficient literacy skills are correlated with improved performance across all subjects,” said Chelsey Bollinger, a professor of literacy education in the JMU College of Education. “When children can read and comprehend text effectively, they can better engage with the curriculum in various subjects such as science, social studies and mathematics. Literacy education promotes critical thinking skills as students analyze and interpret texts. They learn to question, evaluate and synthesize information, which are essential skills for navigating the complexities of the modern world.”  

With the increasing prevalence of digital technologies, especially with generative artificial intelligence, literacy education will need to continue to incorporate digital literacy skills, Bollinger said. This includes teaching students how to critically evaluate information and use technology to create and communicate effectively.  

Bollinger said literacy education has evolved significantly over the years, adapting to changes in society, technology and educational research. Specifically, with the proliferation of digital technologies, literacy education has increasingly incorporated digital literacy skills such as navigating online texts, evaluating digital sources and creating multimedia texts.  

“Educational technology tools and digital resources have become integral components of literacy instruction, offering new opportunities for engagement and personalized learning,” she said.  

While literacy education is important, disparities in funding and resources across school districts impact the quality of literacy instruction, Bollinger said. Schools in low-income areas often face challenges in providing adequate materials, technology and professional development opportunities for teachers.  

Read Across America Day is observed annually on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Established in 1998 by the National Education Association, the celebration aims to recognize the importance of reading and ignite excitement about literacy among children.  


# # #  


Contact: Eric Gorton, [email protected], 540-908-1760  

More information about James Madison University, including rankings and recognitions can be found at  

withyou android app