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Celebrities Join Cat In The Hat, Read To Kids At New York Public Library

Actors Uma Thurman, Jake T. Austin to kick off 16th annual Read Across America Day

NEW YORK, March 1, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Education Association rolled out the red carpet today for a star-studded read-in at the historic New York Public Library to kick off the 16th annual Read Across America Day. Academy Award-nominated actress Uma Thurman and Jake T. Austin, star of the Emmy-winning "Wizards of Waverly Place" and ABC Family's "The Fosters," were on hand for the special read-in, sponsored by NEA and Renaissance Dental, to provide some Seuss-style reading inspiration to more than 250 children from New York City public schools.

"As a mother of three, with one now a teenager, I've see the benefits of reading to and with my children throughout the span of childhood," said Thurman, who read The Cat in the Hat. "Reading has helped develop my children and our family. Spending that time together means so much."

NEA's Read Across America, which has become the nation's largest reading celebration with more than 45 million participating annually, highlights the importance of developing a love for reading at an early age.

"Reading enables us to explore our imaginations," said Austin. "As an actor, I get to be different characters and experience different worlds. I want children to be able to do the same through a good book."

This year, NEA's Read Across America is delivering a very important message to students: 2 x 2 + 20 = good oral health and literacy habits. By asking children and their parents to brush for two minutes, two times per day, and read for 20 minutes each day, NEA and Renaissance Dental hope to increase the awareness of how poor oral health can negatively impact a child's education in formative years when reading skills are developed.

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