I have always loved reading aloud to an audience, be it my own children, a class of children or, more recently, my grandchildren. I love the opportunity to escape into other characters and other worlds. I love to see the expressions on the children’s faces – anticipation, amusement, trepidation, relief, joy. I love the sounds and rhythms of the language. I love the intricacies of story, poem and information.
Reading stories aloud to children provides a great opportunity to establish a connection between author, reader and listener, a platform for sharing ideas, thoughts and dreams, an avenue for discussing ethical questions and implications of choices. These discussions may arise spontaneously and be child-initiated, or they may be pre-determined and teacher-lead as in philosophical discussions and bibliotherapy.
Some parents find reading to their children a chore, something tedious that must be squeezed in around the day’s busyness. I am lucky. I never did.
Some teachers find it difficult to make time for books in a content-driven classroom; but for me it was always priority.
Some parents are delighted when their children start reading for it means the daily read-aloud ritual can cease. I never was. Well, I was delighted that they could read, but we kept on reading together.
I read aloud with my children until they were almost teenagers. The books changed, but the joy of reading and sharing never did. During the teenage, and older, years we continued to discuss and share ideas about books we read and recommendations for reading. We still do: some for ourselves and some for the children, my grandchildren.
Many of you reading this post take your ability to read and write for granted, as do I. But around the world many children do not have the opportunity to learn literacy skills. According to LitWorld more than 793 million people worldwide remain illiterate. About two-thirds of those are women.
Like the people at Lit World, I believe that “the right to read and write belongs to all people”.
I was delighted when I read about World Read Aloud Day on Gail Terp’s blog. I have been following Gail’s blog for a little while now. She titles her blog: “The Best Blog for Kids Who Hate to Read”. She says that one of her top goals is to connect children with books they love and her posts provide recommendations of great books to read to and with children, as well as to be read by children.
In her post Read Alouds: Supporting Literacy One Book at a Time, Gail suggests 7 reasons for reading (picture books and other books) aloud:
- They are fun.
- They are motivating.
- They are easier to follow.
- They often introduce new vocabulary and expressions.
- They introduce a variety of writing styles, authors, and illustrators.
- They provide an excuse to stay close.
- They provide windows to complex subjects and ideas.
Why not join in reading aloud on World Read Aloud Day this Wednesday, March 5.
LitWorld, sponsors of the day, urge you to
“imagine a world where everyone can read . . .”
“World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology.
By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.”
How will you celebrate and share World Read Aloud Day?