Missouri School Read-In Day

Mark Twain Missouri Read-InMark Twain's Home StateMark Twain reads to Tom, and Huck

MARCH 9, 2012

The Mark Twain Boyhood Home & Museum is collaborating with Missouri Representative Mike Kelley to ensure "Missouri School Read-In Day" is a success.

Missouri School Read-In Day began as a bill in the Missouri legislature in 2011. Sponsored by Representative Kelley of the 126th House District, Governor Jay Nixon signed the bill into law in May 2011.

March 9, 2012 marked the first Missouri School Read-In Day. The Mark Twain Museum coordinated an initiative to send volunteer readers into every elementary classroom in Hannibal where they read aloud from their favorite childhood book for 15 minutes. Readers chatted with the students about the joys of reading.

When Sam Clemens was a boy in Hannibal, he loved to read. Sam's father died when Sam was just eleven years old, so that fall his mother was unable to afford to send him back to school. Not only did he have to leave school, he had to earn his own keep by becoming a printer's apprentice. The years he spent learning the printing trade certainly provided an education for him, but there is no doubt that his love of reading laid the groundwork for his literary achievements.

The Museum is planning to reach beyond Hannibal for future Read-In events with the goal of having volunteer readers visit every elementary classroom in Missouri on Read-In Day, which will always be held on the second Friday of March. Anyone interested in planning a Read-In event in their community should contact Brenna McDermott.


There are thousands of great books available for children. Although we're partial to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, here are some resources to find more good reading for the youngsters in your life. Children of all ages love to have someone read aloud to them. Try these links for some great suggestions in children's literature.

National Endowment of the Arts - Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children

School Library Journal - Top 100 Children's Novels

Parenthood - 100 Best Children's Books


There is a tremendous amount of research regarding the benefits of reading aloud to young children, especially when parents read aloud to their pre-schoolers. Reading aloud forms a lasting bond, helps children develop their listening vocabulary, and ultimately increases their quality of life when they become adults. The best resource to help parents make the most of reading aloud to children comes from Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook. Visit Jim's website for free materials to learn more about the benefits of reading aloud.

Author and illustrator Jan Brett's website for parents and teachers features thousands of beautifully illustrated materials that are free to download. These materials include flash cards, games, sight word lists, coloring pages and so much more. There are many engaging activities here for parents and children to share the joys of reading.


 The Extraordinary Mark TwainFrom museum director Cindy Lovell:

I recommend The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy) by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham. When Mark Twain's daughter Susy was 13 years old, she began writing a book about Papa without his knowing it. When he discovered her literary debut, he was deeply moved. Susy adored her Papa and wrote:

"Papa's appearance has been described many times, but very incorrectly. He has beautiful gray hair, not any too thick or any too long but just right; a Roman nose, which greatly improves the beauty of his features; kind blue eyes and a small mustache. He has a wonderfully shaped head and profile. He has a very good figure - in short, he is an extraordinarily fine looking man. All his features are perfect, except he hasn't extraordinary teeth."

Barbara Kerley
created two books in one, excerpting treasures from Susy's book and inserting them in the form of smaller, journal pages between the pages of this beautifully illustrated work. The young children in my family love this book and ask me to read it to them every time I visit. You can support the museum by ordering one today. Let me know how you like it!

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