World Read Aloud Day 2018

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By Shawnta Barnes

February 1, 2018 is World Read Aloud Day.  This day was created by the nonprofit LitWorld in 2010.  According to LitWorld’s website, “750 million adults around the world - two-thirds of them women - lack basic reading and writing skills.”  This year LitWorld decided to have World Read Aloud Day coincidence with Harry Potter Book Night, a day where Harry Potter fans celebrate the Harry Potter series written by J.K. Rowling.  As a literacy coach and teacher, I assert this is a much needed day.  

Many schools ask parents to have their children read each night, but it is also important to read to your child and have your child read to you.  Here are a few reasons why:

Listening to your child read helps you know how well your child can read.  

For nine years of my career, I taught middle school English.  It is crushing to watch parents come to the realization their 8th-grade child is a struggling reader after asking the child to read aloud during a parent/teacher conference.  It is important to help struggling readers as soon as possible.  You won’t know how well your child can read if you have never heard him or her read.

Reading aloud brings the text to life.

When I learned how to read, I had to constantly read aloud to work on some speech issues I was having.  To make it fun my speech therapist would teach me how to emphasize words to bring the text to life.  She even let me dress up sometimes.  

Reading aloud helps reading comprehension and builds vocabulary knowledge.

The more children read, the more opportunities they have to use reading strategies they learned in school.  Each text exposes them to new vocabulary.  According to Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, “Reading aloud to children every day puts them almost a year ahead of children who do not receive daily read alouds regardless of parental income, education level or cultural background.” 

If you aren’t reading to your children and your children aren’t reading to you, get started today.  Use #WorldReadAloudDay to share on social media how you are celebrating this day.