NEA’s Cat-a-Van Reading Tour hits Detroit to promote reading

NEA, Delta Dental of Michigan sponsor special reading tour to bring books, grants to schools in need as part of 17th annual Read Across America Day celebrations

Straight from Who-ville, students at Roosevelt Elementary School in Livonia and Vandenberg Elementary School in Southfield got some Seuss-style reading inspiration when they were paid a special visit by the famous feline, the Cat in the Hat, as part on NEA’s Read Across America Cat-a-Van Reading Tour. Designed to get kids excited about reading and sponsored by the National Education Association and Delta Dental of Michigan, NEA’s Cat-a-Van Reading Tour hit the road on February 24 and will conclude on March 14.

“Today was a great day for all the kids who were visited by the Cat-a-Van Reading Tour,” said Lu Battaglieri., senior vice president and chief relationship officer of Delta Dental of Michigan, Indiana and Ohio, who was on hand for the special read-in. “As a sponsor of this year’s Read Across America celebrations, Delta Dental of Michigan is pleased to be able to help educate kids about the importance of oral health and reading in a fun and exciting way.”

As part of NEA’s Cat-a-Van Reading Tour, more than 30,000 special stovepipe “reading” hats, books and toothbrushes plus other goodies like tooth timers  will be distributed to students to keep them reading and brushing at home. More than $15,000 in grants will be distributed to the libraries and media centers of the public schools visited by NEA’s Cat-a-Van Reading Tour to help keep their libraries stocked with books and other reading inspiration, courtesy of Delta Dental of Michigan.

“Regardless of whether a student’s favorite subject is math, science, music or English, the common thread to academic success is reading,” said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. “NEA’s Read Across America starts cultivating a joy of reading in students at an early age to help create life-long readers and learners.”

The Cat-a-Van Reading Tour will log more than 4,000 miles by traveling to 38 schools in more than 20 cities through eight states—visiting thousands of school children along the way. Stops along the Cat-a-Van reading route include Donna, Texas; Edinburgh, Texas, Laredo, Texas; San Antonio; Austin; Midwest City, Okla.; Shawnee, Okla.; Livonia, Mich.; Southfield, Mich.; Grand Rapids, Mich.; Indianapolis; Reynoldsburg, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Akron, Ohio; Strongsville, Ohio; Columbia, S.C.; Augusta, Ga.; Dublin, Ga.; Macon, Ga.; the greater Atlanta area; and Jackson, Miss.

Founded 17 years ago by NEA, Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., NEA’s Read Across America is designed to get kids excited about reading. More than 45 million children and adults nationwide are expected to participate this year.

About NEA

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

About Dr. Seuss Enterprises L.P.

The primary focus of the 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 consumers 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.

About Delta Dental of Michigan

Delta Dental of Michigan, with its affiliates in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee collectively are among the largest dental plan administrators in the nation. In 2012, the enterprise paid out nearly $3 billion for dental treatment to 11 million enrollees. Offices are located in Okemos and Farmington Hills, Mich. Sherwood and Little Rock, Ark.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Louisville, Ky.; Albuquerque, N.M.; Raleigh and Charlotte, N.C.; Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati, Ohio; and Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn. Delta Dental of Michigan has joined forces with NEA because American students miss 51 million hours of school each year due to oral health problems, and research shows that students who don’t read at grade level by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of high school than proficient readers. Through NEA’s three million educators, Delta Dental of Michigan is helping to deliver a very important message to students: “2 x 2 + 20 = good oral health and literacy habits.” The pledge asks children to brush for two minutes, two times per day, plus read for 20 minutes each day—for a daily total of 24 minutes, all focused on developing good oral health and reading skills. Find out more at

For more information about NEA’s Read Across America, visit

To learn more about oral health, go to

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