Why Writers Should Celebrate World Read Aloud Day

On Feb. 5, 2020, World Read Aloud Day celebrates the pure joy of oral reading with kids of all ages. Created by LitWorld, past years have found over 1 million people in 100 countries joining together to enjoy the power and wonder of reading aloud in groups or individually, at school or home, and discovering what it means to listen to a story told through the voice of another. For many, this is a rare opportunity to hear the passion of a well-told story and fall in love with tales where hearing them reaches listeners on a level nothing else can. Think back to your experiences. You probably sat with an adult, in their lap or curled up in bed. The way they mimicked the voices in the story, built drama, and enthused with you over the story and characters made you want to read more stories like that on your own. This is a favorite activity not just for pre-readers, but beginning and accomplished readers because it’s not about reading the book; it’s about experiencing it through the eyes of a storyteller.

Somehow, as lives for both the adults and children have gotten busier, as digital devices have taken over, as parents turned to TVs or iPads to babysit kids while they do something else, we’ve gotten away from this most companionable of activities. World Read Aloud Day is an opportunity to get back to it.

Importance of reading aloud

There is no more powerful way to develop a love of reading than being read to. Hearing pronunciations, decoding words in context, experiencing the development and completion of a well-plotted story as though you were there are reason enough to read aloud but there’s more. Reading in general and reading aloud specifically is positively correlated to literacy and success in school. It builds foundational learning skills, introduces and reinforces vocabulary, and provides a joyful activity that’s mostly free, cooperative, and often collaborative. Did you know reading aloud:

  • Puts children almost a year ahead of those who do not receive daily read-alouds regardless of parental income, education level or cultural
    background. (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research)world read-aloud day
  • Lets kids experience different worlds with differing cultures.
  • Lets kids learn empathy by hearing how the characters reacted to pain and joy.
  • Provides a storified way to unravel thorny problems and answer difficult questions.
  • Teaches children strategies for dealing with stressful situations like a new sibling or the first day of school.
  • Expands a child’s vocabulary by introducing them to new words that are defined in context (rather than learned from a word list), helping them decipher the nuances of synonyms —  why “azure” is a better choice than “blue” or how “scooted” and “scrambled” provide a different image of how a character is walking.
  • Exposes kids to different genres and authors that may get them into reading on their own. Who doesn’t have a story of a student who didn’t like reading until they discovered Goosebumps or Harry Potter?
  • Builds a bond between reader and readee that starts with the shared emotion of the story.
  • Teaches children how to sit quietly and listen while another is talking.

Here are some websites that provide wonderful free books you can read to your kids and grandkids–and yourself:


— image credit: LitWorld

More on reading:

13 Websites That Provide Lots of Digital Books for Summer Reading

Ten Reading-with-Tech Tips You Don’t Want to Miss

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Against All Odds, Summer 2020. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning


69 thoughts on “Why Writers Should Celebrate World Read Aloud Day

  1. I loved reading aloud to my Barbarians. Now they are much older and obviously don’t need me to read to them, but I’m glad it’s developed a love of reading in both of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It is wonderful to see even older-grade teachers reading to the olders. I wouldn’t have expected it but I can see its value.


  2. I can’t think of a more worthy cause than reading aloud, especially since it’s so much fun. I agree with all your bullet points as to why it’s so incredibly valuable. I just bought a book and read it aloud to my grandchildren yesterday, and that might have been the most important thing I did all day. Sharing… : )

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Great post, Jacqui – the importance of reading alout to children cannot be overstated! It gives so much to the child … and the reader! Special moments for all, educational, emotional, uplifting … the list is endless!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I knew you’d like it–and probably also celebrate it. It sounds like a school thing but should be a family thing, don’t you think?


  4. I’ve tried reading aloud so many times. I just can’t do it. The yawns take over and interrupt. When my son was small I tried so hard. When he got to the point where he could read, I made him read to me instead.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I know from classrooms that reading aloud is almost hypnotic in its ability to engage readers. Oddly so. That is probably what you tapped into by having your son read.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. There is something so special snuggling up with a child on your lap and reading a book out loud to him/her. You don’t get too old to be read to. I’ve read to folks at the nursing home (yes, some do nod off while I’m reading) and to my own kids and grandkids and of course, when I taught school, to my third graders every day after lunch. I think the reader gets as much satisfaction as the listener. Thanks for highlighting Read Aloud Day.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree–that it’s quite satisfying to be the reader. I read to my mom when she was bed-ridden and stopped talking. I hope she liked it because I did.


  6. I really love this article, Jacqui, thanks for posting it. Reading to and with children is one of the great social and educational equalizers, and lifts kids no matter their economic status, neighborhood, or language development. Many years ago, I worked with Chapter 1 (a government program that supplemented education opportunities) students in a relatively poor school. The students came from many ethnic backgrounds. Some were born in the US but their parents were recent immigrants, and the home language wasn’t English. Some had behavioral or developmental problems or lagged behind grade level. Some were homeless, living in regional campgrounds and moving every 2 weeks. Many of the students qualified for lunch subsidies, and several had parents in prison. My tasks included working with small groups of kids to assist with reading comprehension, interpreting math word problems, and learning vocabulary and language mechanics. The kids were challenged by these tasks, the work was hard for them, and much of it had to repeated before they were able to internalize the lessons. One of the things that got the students eager to work with me was that they knew I’d read a story to them at the end of our session. All the fidgeting, pouting, complaining, frustration, and slouching turned into quiet attention as they listened raptly to the next chapter or newest book.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I love that you shared this, Jacqui. I read to my daughter and instilled a love of books 📚 in her, and she in turn did the same with my grandson.
    Reading aloud is about connecting with family and the memories it leaves as much as the story itself. ❤️

    Liked by 3 people

  8. When people ask me what I miss most about teaching, it is the kids and my co-workers. The best part of each school day was reading to my students. There was nothing cooler than seeing them fully engaged and wanting more.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Pingback: Why Writers Should Celebrate World Read Aloud Day — WordDreams… – Teaching Others and Learning All the Time

  10. Sadly, my step-great-grandkids suffer from not being read aloud too. They seem to be products of the digital-attention/distraction age. I’ve tried buying them books and even reading to them – not easy when illness has made my speech poor. But then none of my family read my debut novel – they just wanted signed copies. I’m grateful that I was read to as a child and learnt to love books.
    I will keep trying and February 5th is a key step. Thanks, Jacqui for this timely post.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s a difficult situation. People who don’t read really don’t realize what they’re missing which makes them a tough sell. My family (except my sister) also didn’t buy any of my novels. I have to say, I remain fairly annoyed by that.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Hi Jackie – this is great to know. I had to ‘learn to read properly’ – i.e. slowly, clearly, engaging my listener/s and select appropriate pieces to read …

    In fact we have a Read Aloud group at the library … I’m not sure how it came about and I must find out … but it meets on Tuesdays and I was thinking of going next week … so I’m pleased to know about ‘this day’ – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 3 people

      • Yes – that’s what I thought … it seems to be for elderly who want to stay in touch with life and love reading to others …it’s not brilliant – but from me they get another perspective … ?! Cheers Hilary

        Liked by 3 people

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