In this blog post, Pam Allyn, Senior Literacy Advisor to Scholastic, author, founder of LitWorld, and creator of World Read Aloud Day, shares ideas for keeping the read-aloud a meaningful part of students’ lives year-round.
The 12th annual World Read Aloud Day, which took place on Wednesday, February 3, 2021, encouraged educators, students, families, authors, libraries, classrooms, and communities everywhere to take part in the special global tradition of sharing stories and celebrating the power of the read-aloud.
While I’m still feeling inspired and energized from World Read Aloud Day, I see an opportunity to keep the momentum going, and continue making the read-aloud an important and cherished part of our daily lives both in school and at home. Reading aloud is undoubtedly a way to bring people together and foster meaningful connections, especially in these socially distant times.
In fact, according to the Scholastic Teacher & Principal School Report: 2nd Edition, educators have shared that their top COVID-19-related concern is their students’ social-emotional wellbeing, and nearly all agree that literacy is critical to students’ wellness. We also know from the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report: 7th Edition™ that more than 80% of both kids and parents love or like read-aloud time because they consider it a special time together—and there is no more beautiful data than that.
The read-aloud is meaningful and kids and families want it.
To continue harnessing the power of reading aloud, here are eight of my favorite and simple ways to make the read-aloud an exciting part of our students’ daily lives:
- Make choice a priority. Invite kids to choose the book you will read together as a class—when kids choose, they read! The same Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report also tells us that kids love and are more likely to finish a book they have picked out themselves.
- Make it empowering. Give kids the opportunity to read to you or to their peers. Taking ownership of the read-aloud experience can be powerful for kids.
- Make it comfy. Encourage your students to create a cozy space for themselves to enjoy the read-aloud, whether that’s grabbing a blanket, or making a tradition of the Friday pajama day read-aloud!
- Make it open. Find ways to get the families surrounding your students involved, including caregivers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, and even pets! Create special designated moments in which whoever is home with your students can participate and enjoy the read-aloud.
- Make it creative. Encourage students to write or draw their own stories and share them with the class. You can even write your own story and share it with your students to inspire them.
- Make it fun. Use funny voices for different characters and act out scenes to make the read-aloud exciting and interactive.
- Make it an experience. If you’re hosting a virtual read-aloud, make it a fun experience by using a virtual background that goes with the theme of your book, such as an enchanted forest scene, or the depths of the ocean. If you’re up for it, you can even dress in a costume to go with the book. Kids love when the read-aloud experience is fun and silly!
- Make it meaningful. Storytelling brings a confluence of the social-emotional learning skills children need to grow and flourish. We will bolster student’s social-emotional strengths through the read-aloud when we point out examples in the stories we read of what I identify as seven key social-emotional strengths: belonging, curiosity, kindness, friendship, confidence, courage, and hope.
To learn more about the power and importance of reading aloud, and to access free read-aloud resources including book recommendations, reading materials, and crafts, visit: www.scholastic.com/worldreadaloudday
Art © 2020 Scholastic Inc. Custom art provided by Michael Robertson, illustrator of My Very Favorite Book in the Whole Wide World.