March 1, 2024

Read Across Iowa is a special event held on the 1st of March and is celebrated throughout the month of March to help motivate kids to read. The month-long celebrations bring the joys of reading to students of all ages and make all children feel valued and welcomed. The 2024 theme will be Food Science.

To celebrate the event 1,000 book kits will be assembled and available for request by educators across Iowa. Each kit will also come with lessons and activities to help implement the books into classroom programming. See below for virtual lessons, activities, and read alouds to come! We're excited to have you and your students join us for all the Read Across Iowa celebrations!

Kits are geared towards K-5 teachers and are on a first-come, first-served basis. All hard copy 2024 kits have been spoken for. If you were unable to receive a hard copy kit, no worries! Many of the books are available through public libraries, your county's Agriculture in the Classroom, or your county's Iowa State Extension.

You can also scroll through this page to receive the digital resources. Then in March follow along for special virtual events including read alouds!

Did you know?

  • Reading to children and having books in the home is one of the strongest predictors of school success.
  • Children who read and listen to books hear a greater variety of words - up to 50% more - leading to a better vocabulary than those who watch media.
  • Children raised in homes with more than 500 books spent three years longer in school than children whose parents had only a few books, but even 25 books will be associated with completing two more years of school than having no books in the home.
  • Researchers estimate reading can reduce stress up to 68%.
  • Adults with a reading habit are 2.5 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s.

You can make your community a place where adults spend time reading with children, and children get the message that reading is essential!

Why Agriculture?

Agriculture is essential to the economy of Iowa. Agriculture is a great way to contextualize learning. Everybody eats and learning about our food system can be fun too! This agriculturally themed Read Across Iowa event and the accompanying resources will feature books and materials about agriculture that will appeal to all readers.

The Kits

Kits are geared towards K-5 teachers and are on a first-come, first-served basis. The kits can be requested starting January 15.

The 2024 kits will include the following books and resources:

    • My Family’s Dairy Farm by Katie Olthoff
    • Meg and the Eggstraordinary Egg by Sydney Kehret
    • Bread Lab by Kim Binczewski and Bethany Econopouly
    • From Grape to Jelly by Bridget Heos
    • Ice Cream in a Bag by Barbara Alpert
    • De la Vaca al Queso (Cow to Cheese) by Penelope Nelson (limited supply)
    • FREE download of Erosion: How Hugh Bennett Saved America's Soil and Ended the Dust Bowl (code: ReadAgLit)
    • Read aloud tips
    • Links to other activities
    • Links to bookmarks with educator and parent tips

Make your Read Across Iowa celebration a classroom event, a virtual event, or a community event. Begin planning your celebrations today and go beyond the books with these helpful resources. 

Enjoy these Virtual Events

Read Across Iowa Shirts

Are you excited about this program? Now you can show it off year-round with this commemorative T-shirt! Shirts are printed locally here in Iowa. Learn more and order yours at the link below.

Order Your Shirt!



Read Across Iowa is organized as a collaborative effort between the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and Iowa 4-H. Some books and materials were provided by generous funds from the Iowa Space Grant Consortium, the National Education Association, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, and other partners of the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.            


Questions and media inquiries can be directed to

Many thanks to our sponsors for helping make this event possible!