On cold winter days like the ones we’ve been having this week, my favorite thing to do with my kids when they were little was to gather a stack of books, snuggle on the couch, and read. The Going to Bed Book, Frog and Toad are Friends, The Napping House, and books by Jan Brett, Lois Ehlert, and Eric Carle were in constant rotation. We’d sit for hours under a blanket, just the three of us and our books.
As my kids grew up, chapter books replaced the picture books and board books we’d read on the couch. Our nighttime ritual involved reading chapter books of their choice. I read each of the 7 Harry Potter books aloud to both children at separate times, always reading more than I intended to.
I never read in funny voices, but it didn’t matter to my kids. They just wanted me to read and I was happy to oblige. Reading was my way of connecting to my kids through books that I loved and wanted to share with them.
7 Reasons to Celebrate the Power of Story on World Read Aloud Day
In honor of World Read Aloud Day on Wednesday, February 3, I invited Pam Allyn, Senior Literacy Advisor to Scholastic, author, founder of LitWorld, and creator of World Read Aloud Day to share the benefits of reading aloud. Below she shares the many benefits of reading aloud and encourages us to pick up a book, find an audience, and read aloud.
Contributed piece from Pam Allyn, Senior Literacy Advisor to Scholastic, author, founder of LitWorld, and creator of World Read Aloud Day
The first Wednesday of every February marks my favorite day of the year: World Read Aloud Day! It’s an annual event created by LitWorld that calls attention to the importance of sharing stories by challenging people everywhere to grab a book, find an audience, and read aloud.
Scholastic has made a longstanding commitment to sponsor World Read Aloud Day from the very earliest days, and together, we have been able to help more people across the country and around the world experience the power of reading aloud.
This year, as I think about the challenges that families and educators have had to endure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I look to World Read Aloud Day as an incredibly powerful and necessary moment for all of us to come together and celebrate the shared experience of storytelling. I’ve also seen how in these days of separation and physical isolation, the read-aloud can be a virtual method for making the technological ways we communicate feel warmer and closer.
This World Read Aloud Day, we can tap the power of technology to spread care for children and people of all ages, and make opportunities for the bonding that reading brings, far and wide.
For this year’s World Read Aloud Day celebration on February 3, 2021, Scholastic and the literacy nonprofit LitWorld are teaming up with football champion, bestselling author, and literacy advocate Malcolm Mitchell.
People may be surprised to learn that Malcolm, author of My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World, wasn’t always a reader.
As he got older, he came to realize the power and importance of reading for his future wellness, and he’s made it his life’s work to help kids everywhere become readers for their own lives, in spite of any challenges. Malcolm is an amazing WRADvocate (World Read Aloud Day-advocate!) because he, along with so many of us who are passionate about literacy, believe in the importance of finding a meaningful story, which often happens so beautifully during read-aloud time.
In my work with families, educators, and students around the world, I have seen firsthand how reading aloud is beneficial and needed.
According to the Scholastic Teacher & Principal School Report: 2nd Edition, educators have shared that their top COVID-19-related concern is their students’ social-emotional wellbeing, and nearly all agree that literacy is critical to students’ wellness.
Additionally, research from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report™: 7th Edition shows that more than 80% of both kids and parents love or like read-aloud time because they consider it a special time together.
How Reading Aloud Supports Social Emotional Strengths
Reading aloud is an essential and inspirational way to bring social-emotional learning into the education experience. We can harness the power of reading aloud to provide meaningful learning moments for our children, and support seven social-emotional strengths:
- When kids are immersed in a read-aloud, they feel a sense of belonging, because they are sharing an experience with others.
- During the read-aloud, kids have opportunities to ask questions and discover new things.
- So many beloved stories show examples of what it means to be kind. Identifying kindness can be comforting in this challenging time.
- The bond that is formed during a read-aloud is a special one that is cultivated when experiencing and discussing a story together. We know kids are seeking opportunities for friendship, especially now.
- Read-alouds are a chance for kids to guess what will happen next in a story, share ideas for how a character could have done something differently, or wonder why an event unfolded the way it did. Encouraging this kind of thinking, and celebrating various reactions to a story, will affirm a child’s confidence in the reading experience.
- Reading aloud helps children learn how to navigate the text and the world around them. Find moments to talk about how characters are being courageous.
- Stories emphasize the importance of using the imagination to solve problems, envision new worlds, and find something to be excited about.
To encourage and support even more participation on World Read Aloud Day, Scholastic has created a free and easy-to-use World Read Aloud Day VirtualKit. It includes a special read-aloud video message from Malcolm Mitchell and a list of 30 World Read Aloud Day Book Picks.
There are also free printable activity sheets and how-to craft projects inspired by beloved children’s books. Look for a special reading crown, coupons for the Scholastic Store Online, custom screen backgrounds that educators, students, and your family can use for virtual read-alouds, and more!
Families and educators can learn more about World Read Aloud Day and sign up to receive the free VirtualKit at www.scholastic.com/worldreadaloudday.
You can also participate in the World Read Aloud Day social media challenge by snapping a photo or video of a read-aloud moment! Be sure to use #WRADChallenge and #WorldReadAloudDay, tag at least three friends to join the fun, as well as @Scholastic and @LitWorldSays on Twitter, and @scholasticinc and @litworld on Instagram.
At every turn throughout our lives, reading aloud provides an amazing opportunity to connect and experience meaningful conversations. I hope you will consider joining me in celebrating World Read Aloud Day this year, and beyond!
No compensation was received for this guest post provided by Scholastic. Some links are affiliate links.