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)
- 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.
- Aesop Fables—no ads
- Aesop’s Fables
- Audio stories
- Childhood Stories
- Classic Fairy Tales
- Fairy Tales and Fables
- Listen/read–Free non-fic audio books
- Owl Eyes (classics)
- Stories read by actors
- Stories to read for youngsters
- Unite for Literacy
— image credit: LitWorld
More on reading:
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