On the 24th of February it is WORLD READ ALOUD DAY!
There are two reasons I am very excited about this day.
Firstly, I have two very distinct readers in my house: a son who consumes books like a drug, and a daughter who cannot sit still long enough to finish a sentence. She’s well into senior primary now and still struggling. Being a reader myself I’ve found it very difficult to understand her reticence but after listening to some podcasts, reading articles and books I’ve realised that reading aloud might be the answer to her issues. More on that in a moment.
Secondly, I live in a country where the illiteracy rate is awful. There are too many children who don’t have access to books or good education and so many children with parents who cannot read to them, or no parents at all. It’s a vicious cycle and one I can’t ignore.
So to the first problem… I came across this fantastic podcast late last year (Scholastic Reads Podcast) and it’s been very helpful in changing my perception about struggling readers. This podcast on struggling readers was instrumental in getting me to read aloud to my daughter again. I had assumed she was too old for me to read aloud to her and since ditching that archaic belief, I’ve seen her blossom. She still has a long way to go but I’m trying not to look at reading the same way I did with my son and rather, try any wild and wacky thing to get her to find a book series she loves.
This podcast also did a wonderful talk on Picture Books which has recently become very close to my heart thanks to Book Dash. In South Africa access to libraries and picture books is an unreachable dream for some children but organisations like Book Dash, Nalibali, Little Libraries and The Learn Project (to name a few) are changing things. That’s what I’m noticing about the world – when things get tough, we mobalise and work towards making things better. The literary community is amazing at this.
So on the 24th, get involved in reading aloud to a child. Your child, someone else’s child, a classroom of children or a hospital room full of them. You could even go and read to elderly bedridden folk in a home. Reading aloud is an intimate act of rebellion against the detached nature of our society. We’re forgetting how to look each other in the eye and share a conversation – reading aloud changes this. Shared stories change this because stories teach us empathy, curiosity, passion and so much more.
So make a difference in the world on the 24th and read something to someone. Let’s ignite a passion for reading!