On Wednesday, February 3, 2021, librarians and other educators, young people, families, and community members are celebrating World Read Aloud Day. For the past twelve years, this annual day of sharing read-alouds has reminded us of the importance of book-based stories and sharing them with others.
You can follow World Lit Day on Twitter @litworldsays.
There are World Lit Day programs in 27 countries around the globe. Each year, more and more people have taken up the challenge to select a book, find an audience, and share an image of them reading their selection aloud. (You can post the photo on Twitter with #WorldReadAloudDay and #WRADChallenge.)
Litworld.org provides an “activity hub” where school librarians can find resources to support the challenge. LitWorld® resources include tips on “Virtual Programs.” Scholastic Books offers a list of suggested titles for babies and toddlers throughout the grades up to seniors in high school.
In choosing from the lists offered, it also matters what books we select books to share. With a focus on reading aloud, we must take this opportunity to select stories that shine a light on the diversity of human experience.
Although it is important for individual school librarians to read aloud to the students in our care, it is equally important for us to encourage all of the classroom educators, administrators, and staff with whom we work to do so as well. We must also extend our reach into our students’ home literacy lives and the community by supporting parents and caregivers in reading aloud to youth of all ages.
Encouraging adults and older siblings to read aloud to children from the beginning of their lives is a personal mission of mine. Our book Read to Me / Vamos a leer was published in 2004 (Star Bright Books). Illustrated by Kyra Teis and adapted into Spanish by Mary Margaret Mercado, our multicultural inter-generational board book continues to support early childhood and family literacy programs across the country as they spread the message of reading as a fundamental part of parenting and family life. (The book is also currently available in Vietnamese/English.)
Beginning this year, the Great Beginnings Early Education Center Library and Parents as Teachers in Lee’s Summit, Missouri provides a gift of our book Read to Me to celebrate the birth or adoption of a new baby in their community.
I will be reading to my grandchildren ages 1 and 3 via video chat this year. Of course, I would rather have them on my lap but technology has afforded us the next best thing.
The baby likes My Face Book and Babies, Babies both from Star Bright Books. The toddler and I add one- or two-sentence stories for the faces and the babies’ actions.
I give the toddler choices for our weekly read-alouds. Last week, he made his first ever snow angel so The Snowy Day is a must read this week. I will also offer The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates and Juniper Bates and selected pages from The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Ros Asquith.
To whom will you be reading on World Read Aloud Day and what book(s) have you carefully selected?
(And who will read aloud to me? Louise Erdrich will be reading to me via the audiobook of her latest title The Night Watchman. Thank you, Ms. Erdrich!)