World Read Aloud Day is coming! Held this year on Wednesday, February 1st, and sponsored by Scholastic , World Read Aloud Day calls attention to the powerful act of just simply reading aloud. Some of us may have unpleasant memories of having to read aloud in class during our school years. We may have felt awkward or embarrassed, especially if we struggled with a word and one of our peers corrected us. I remember that feeling of dread as I hid behind my book and murmured, “Don’t pick me, don’t pick me, don’t pick me,” as the teacher scanned the classroom looking for a “volunteer”.
But reading aloud is really important, especially when it comes to our children. When we were in school we missed the beauty of this simple act. We missed the point.
Reading aloud is powerful. It shows our children that we value reading because we spend time reading books to them or listening to them read books to us. It allows us to act as characters in the book and change the sound of our voices which adds another layer of understanding to the meaning of the words and the layers of the story. Reading aloud can aid in building empathy for the characters in a book because children will hear the story and the dialogue in a much more realistic way.
Reading aloud is educational. There is an extreme benefit to reading the words in a book out loud. Young children understand the most basic elements of reading, such as the proper way to hold the book and that we read from left to right. Reading to a child gives you the ability to process in real-time with them the concepts they are learning from the book and any words they may not already know.
Reading aloud is necessary. Reading books aloud helps our children understand the flow and rhythm of language. Reading aloud helps children associate reading with someone special: YOU! That association will stick with them for the rest of their lives and make reading something they associate with warmth, fun, and love.
Reading aloud is easy. This is an activity the entire family can get behind. Remember in the old days when an entire family would gather around a radio? Make this a fun family event and invite the whole family to grab a snack or a warm cup of cocoa and make it an event.
As children get older, they may not be as willing to have you read aloud to them, but there is a way for a family to continue this habit: AUDIOBOOKS! While technically, you aren’t reading aloud to them, they are being read aloud to which is still a plus.
If your family goes on a long car ride for vacation, download a free audiobook from your local library and play it in the car. It doesn’t have to be a 14-hour commitment; there are plenty of short audiobooks that a family could agree to listen to on the road. It is a way for kids to use the technology they love, yet the family is still together and participating in the same activity.
Another idea is to add a poem to the family celebrations in your household. On your child’s birthday, read them a quick poem that encompasses your love for them. Or maybe even find one that is a little irreverent. (Is there a poem about teenagers and their smelly socks??)
If your child loves to draw, build with Legos, or do puzzles, consider reading to them while they are doing this quiet activity. The beauty of reading aloud is you can do it anywhere.
Be sure to check out the schedule for the LIVE Read aloud sessions offered by Scholastic on this day. There will be some great authors on reading their books and it is all free!
How will your family commit or recommit to making reading aloud a priority and celebrate this very important World Read Aloud Day?