Happy World Read Aloud Day!
The annual literary movement is all about celebrating the power of reading aloud with your little ones. It boosts their literacy skills and helps kids make sense of the world around them. Reading aloud also offers important bonding time for children and caregivers.
Now in its 12th year, World Read Aloud Day is celebrated in over 173 countries.
The goal is to remind people of the importance of reading aloud and to encourage families to make it part of their daily lives.
So how can you get involved?
The simple answer is to read, read and read some more!
Pam Allyn, Senior Literacy Advisor to Scholastic and creator of World Read Aloud Day, says that reading aloud is one of the most important things you can do for your child.
"It builds a sense of comfort and safety," she told Motherly. "Emotionally, it builds a sense of nearness to someone else in a very special way."
Your child will remember how safe she felt while reading with you.
"We've learned over time and the research shows that the read-aloud is important to engage children as lifelong readers," she added.
By spending time reading aloud with your children, you set them on the path to becoming an independent reader later in life.
It's also important for children to see the adults in their lives reading.
"It makes the experience of reading visible," says Allyn. "It's not like kicking a soccer ball or making dinner. It's hard for them to see it. Reading aloud is a way for your kids to see you engage in reading, too."
What if your child insists on reading the same book, over and over? Will he still reap the benefits of reading aloud?
Absolutely, says Allyn.
"Children are very wise about what they need, overall," she says. "They're very elemental. I trust them. When we reread, the child is making sense of the world and that story."
"As adults, you read a book and you never go back to it," she continued. "For a child, they're taking it in on many levels. They're definitely working on things."
"They're doing a lot of different kinds of comprehension work as you read aloud every time," she added.
Allyn also encourages families to read aloud when it works for them.
"Some days are going to feel easier than other days. Really pay attention to what works and don't be hard on yourself when it doesn't. Your kids aren't going to need the same thing at the same time."
If your kids are too tired or cranky to enjoy reading at bedtime, then don't force it. Try to build reading into other parts of their day, like during bath or dinnertime.
"It's a little less frantic and frenetic," says Allyn. "It's a great message for kids: read aloud doesn't have to just happen at bedtime."
And if your kids get distracted while you're reading, it's okay to take a break.
"You don't have to finish a book in one sitting, even a picture book," says Allyn. She recommends decorating bookmarks with your kids and keeping them nearby.
"Every reader gets tired sometimes. It's healthy to say, 'We can put this aside until we come back to this.'"
Ready to celebrate World Read Aloud Day?
Grab a book and your child. It's that easy!
If you're looking for more resources, like educational guides and activities, head over to Scholastic's website. The publisher sponsors World Read Aloud Day and has a bunch of free materials on their site to help you get started.