Regardless of the role, I have held thus far during my career, literacy has been at the core. One of my favorite activities is reading a book aloud, whether that is at school as an educator or at home as a parent. Currently, I’m a school administrator, and I have been asked twice to read to elementary school students even though I work upstairs in the middle school. Sometimes, I read to students one-on-one in my office when they need a break. Each time I have the opportunity to read, I do my best to bring the story to life. This is why days like World Read Aloud Day is important.
According to Lit World, the organization behind, World Read Aloud Day, this day is “an opportunity for people all around the globe to celebrate the joy of reading aloud, and advocate for literacy as a fundamental human right that belongs to everyone.” As a former literacy coach, I can tell you first hand the power behind a read aloud and how it helps children of any age.
During my last year as a literacy coach, I coached teachers and taught three English classes. Two of my English classes were for struggling 11 graders who might not graduate from high school because they had not passed the state’s standardized test in tenth grade, but they had a few more opportunities to retake the assessment. My English class was created to help close the gaps to ensure they would pass the exam and graduate. I knew I had to incorporate reading aloud into the class. Some students scoffed at the idea, at first. Then, when I did not read aloud, they would complain. I had a few students tell me that hearing me read aloud motivated to them want to read better. I even recorded myself reading an entire book my classes were reading, and 50% of the students used the optional recording with their homework.
When books are read aloud properly they can be powerful. The listener can hear the tone the reader is using and how the reader’s voice changes as the plot changes. It makes the story more engaging. My favorite part about reading aloud is the discussion afterward. When you are reading aloud to a child, you are actually reading along with the child. It is an opportunity to bond and go back and forth about plot points and character decisions. I have found that book discussions help me understand a little more about who a child is. Most importantly, reading comprehension is improved. What’s the point of reading if you don’t understand what you read.?
If you don’t read aloud to your children or students, you should. Let World Read Aloud Day be the catalyst to get you on a mission to find a good book to read aloud.