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

"This Read Across America Day, we want students to sink their teeth into a good book," said NEA President Dennis Van Roekel. "When students are absent from class due to oral health problems, they're missing out on critical instruction time. Everyone from Horton to the Grinch can benefit from developing good oral health and reading habits."

Reports show that American students miss 51 million hours of school every year because of oral health problems. In fact, tooth decay continues to be the single most common chronic childhood illness. Recent findings out of the Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC revealed students who experience oral health pain are four times more likely to have lower grade point averages. Still other studies reveal that students who don't read at grade level by fourth grade are four times more likely to drop out of school.

"The sad part about these alarming statistics is that many of these oral health issues can be easily prevented and easily fixed," said Rob Mulligan, president and CEO at Renaissance Dental. "Visiting the dentist and developing good brushing habits early on is key to preventing issues down the road. We feel that one of the best ways to communicate this message is by reaching out to educators, children and their parents through the classroom during the early educational years—and Renaissance Dental's partnership with NEA's Read Across America allows us to do this."

The award-winning literacy program was founded by NEA in 1997 through a partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P., and Random House. NEA's Read Across America Day is celebrated every year on or around the birthday of Dr. Seuss, the beloved children's book author.

"The success behind NEA's Read Across America is that it gets kids excited about reading," added Van Roekel. "When children love to the read, Oh, the places they can go!"

About NEAThe 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 www.nea.org.

About Renaissance DentalRenaissance Dental provides quality and affordable dental insurance to organizations and individuals nationwide. Customizable dental options can be designed for groups as small as two enrollees. Renaissance Dental is the flagship product of Renaissance Life & Health Insurance Company of America and Renaissance Health Insurance Company of New York. www.RenaissanceDental.com.

For more information about NEA's Read Across America, visit www.nea.org/readacrossTo learn more about the link between oral health and literacy, check out http://2min2x.orgDownload hi-res photos at http://bit.ly/15VxToAFind us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/neareadacrossamericaFollow us on twitter at @NEAMedia and use hash tags #neareads, #catinhat and #raa13

SOURCE National Education Association

Copyright 2011 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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