6 ideas to share stories and connection during World Read Aloud Day

World Read Aloud Day is February 24, 2016. This global initiative “calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories,” according to LitWorld, the founder of the event. To help you celebrate this exciting day on a local scale, here are six ideas to get you started:

  1. Start a reading habit. WRAD is the perfect time to start a reading habit with your children. If reading a story before bedtime is part of a regular routine, consider selecting new books to enliven your time together. Resources for finding books: Cooperative Children’s Book Center or Diverse Book Lists from Pragmatic Mom
  2. Read with older children. Don’t fret if you have an older child in your life. According to a Scholastic Annual Reading Survey, many children ages 6–11 (40%) did not want their parents to stop reading aloud to them. Ask the children in your life what they’re interested in, make a visit to a local library or bookstore, and read a book with your child. There are many options rich in possibilities of sharing with children, such as books that were turned into movies, reading a series, or reading award winners. Try the Young Adult Library Services Association list of books for young adults. Also, given that teens are into their friendships, why not gather your child’s peer group together for a rousing read aloud event? Pizza, picture books (maybe ones they loved as children), and you: a perfect literary date, for sure!
  3. Find moments throughout the day. If bedtime is too rushed, think about other times you could read with your child. Cracking open a book is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy a subway commute. If you like to cook with your child, think of some books that capture that experience, perhaps even adding some reading and making of recipes into the experience. For more: 30 Recipes Inspired by Popular Children’s Books.
  4. Try poetry. Kids love laughing. Combining fun with poetry is a delightful way to spend the day. Plus, poems invite discussion, sharing and multiple reads. Jack Prelutsky’s work is a treasure trove of kid-friendly poetry.
  5. Capture the moments. Technology offers many ways to extend WRAD. Do you have relatives that live far away? Why not share the experience of reading aloud to someone across distances? If possible, make arrangements for all who are reading to have copies of the book, then use FaceTime or Skype to make memories. As you and your child take turns reading with the person on the other screen, you’ll be connecting and taking part in this exciting day. You might also make a video to replay time and again as a way of remembering the special moment.
  6. Throw yourself into it. Reading aloud with someone is the time to be silly. Practice funny voices for different characters, sing the parts that invite some rhythm, clap your hands and invite your little one to join in. Find inspiration to channel your inner celebrity by watching some videos of Jim Dale reading Harry Potter. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate! You and your child are having a powerful, memorable literary moment. Enjoy every minute (and, of course, mark your calendar for World Read Aloud Day 2017).

For more ideas, check out these options: Ted Talk about the Magic of Reading Aloud and The Must-Have Picture Books for Great Read Aloud Performances With Your Kids.

Dr. Kimberly N. Parker is a 2014 Mass Literacy Champion and English teacher at the Cambridge, Rindge and Latin School in Cambridge, MA. 

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