NEA Kicks Off Read Across America Tour with Mazda and ‘The Lorax’
By Teal Ruland
From the Truffula Trees to the Once-ler, and the hoots of the Bar-ba-Loots, Dr. Seuss and the Lorax are loose in Miami and celebrating the joys of reading with students at Carol City Elementary School. Yesterday kicked off the NEA’s “Read Across America Tour – Driven by Mazda,” and the children were visited by the Lorax himself.
NEA has collaborated with Mazda North American Operations (MNAO), Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, and the NEA Foundation to benefit public school libraries nationwide with the “Read Across America Tour – Driven by Mazda.”
The nation’s largest reading event of 2012 will visit 20 cities on the East and West coasts, and stop at public schools and Mazda dealerships to bring the joy of reading to thousands of public school students and help to raise $1 million for public school libraries.
The Read Across America Program is the NEA’s signature literacy effort to help children develop a love of reading during their early years. Studies show that students who enjoy reading perform better in school, boast higher test scores, develop comprehension proficiency and improve analytical skills faster and better than their peers who read less frequently.
The “Read Across America Tour Driven by Mazda” will focus on sharing the story of Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” with students, raise awareness for public schools in need and provide an opportunity for consumers to show that they care – as the Lorax teaches us – “a whole awful lot.” The tour will culminate in a superstar-studded event in New York City, with Zac Efron, who lends his vocal talents to the animated adventure, serving as a celebrity guest reader at The New York Public Library for the March 2 national reading event that celebrates “Read Across America Day.” Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle and Betty White will join Zac Efron as co-chairs of this year’s Read Across America Program.
“Every year on Read Across America Day, the imaginations of children across the country are ignited when they open up a good book,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “‘The Lorax’ is not only entertaining to read, but it also highlights the importance of protecting our air, land and water. Our students deserve to grow and learn in a safe, healthy environment.”
The 3D-CG feature, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, an adaptation of the classic tale of a forest creature who shares the enduring power of hope, comes from the creators of Despicable Me and the imagination of Dr. Seuss. The animated adventure follows the journey of a 12-year-old as he searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it, he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. The film opens nationwide on Friday, March 2 – Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
“We are thrilled to be partnering once again with NEA on Read Across America and couldn’t be happier that ‘The Lorax’ is being featured this year,” said Susan Brandt, Dr. Seuss Enterprises President. “Not only are we emphasizing the importance of reading, but also teaching children the importance of caring for the environment.”
NEA will also rev up its engines for the first ever “NEA’s Read Across America Tour – Driven by Mazda.” Mazda has pledged up to $1 million in support of the nation’s public school libraries through a unique test-drive program. For each test drive of a Mazda vehicle between Feb. 21 and April 2, Mazda will donate $25 towards public school libraries. Administered by the NEA Foundation, this donation will provide vital funds to help the nation’s struggling public school libraries.
To participate, consumers must first obtain a certificate online and take it to any Mazda dealer in the U.S. The dealer will then validate the certificate upon completion of the test drive. Funds raised through the test drives will be donated to the NEA Foundation and will be awarded to public school libraries nationwide through an application process in the spring.
As the first and only carmaker to receive The Lorax’s honor of the “Truffula Tree Seal of Approval,” Mazda will power the reading tour by providing Mazda CX-5 and Mazda3 vehicles. The Mazda CX-5 boasts 35 MPG, the highest highway fuel economy of any SUV sold in America and the highest combined fuel economy of any non-hybrid SUV, while the Mazda3 with SKYACTIV® TECHNOLOGY delivers up to 40 MPG highway.
With NEA’s Read Across America Tour being “Driven by Mazda,” it can deliver the love of reading to children across the country and make the Lorax proud by treading lightly on the Earth.
“NEA’s national Read Across America celebration is not just about one hour or one day of reading,” Van Roekel said. “It is about cultivating a lifetime of good reading habits in students that will translate into academic success.”
And, as Dr. Seuss wrote in “The Lorax,” “UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
For those who do not want to do the test drive, but want to donate to the nation’s public school libraries, they can do so online at the NEA Foundation.