There is one day every year where millions of us from around the globe take action to show that the right to literacy belongs to all people. This day is World Read Aloud Day, and on February 16, 2017, we will advocate for accessible and sustainable literacy communities through the read aloud. On this day, classrooms, families and communities in hundreds of cities unite to celebrate the power of words, and share some of their favorite stories.
With the ever-changing digital landscape, we have many new ways to engage with stories. Sometimes, it is not a book in our hands, but a book on the other side of a screen. As teachers and caregivers grapple with how our kids can benefit from the expanding use of digital media, the American Academy of Pediatrics released their latest screen time recommendations for children. The report notes that while screen time should generally be minimal, it can help our kids thrive in the 21st century when used in productive ways. At LitWorld, we see the read aloud as the perfect way to harness the power of digital spaces to enrich the lives of our kids.
We have always embraced virtual WRAD celebrations because we believe that distance should never get in the way of a fabulous read aloud! The read aloud is an indispensable tool for positive change, and we know that every child deserves to experience this magic. We celebrate WRAD because there are so many children denied this access every day.
We celebrate WRAD because literacy should not be a gift given only to some lucky ones, it is a foundational human right that brings joy, independence, gender equity and a pathway out of poverty. In a world where over 700 million people cannot read, it is more important than ever that we recognize how reading creates a brighter future for children everywhere.
We celebrate WRAD because research shows that reading aloud to children every day puts them almost a year ahead of children who do not receive daily read alouds, regardless of parental income, education level or cultural background. The read aloud has proven to be a social equalizer that is best served on a daily basis!
We celebrate WRAD because the read aloud invites everyone at any level to embrace their identity as readers. Not only is it a great tool for building language skills, but it is the perfect symbol for universal literacy as it gathers communities around books, visibly reading together.
Through the use of digital media and virtual participation, more people than ever before have been able to join the World Read Aloud Day movement and celebrate the power of reading with us.
You can join the movement by visiting litworld.org/wrad and checking out our resources for virtual and non-virtual participation. Remember that no matter how we choose to read aloud, it is the engagement with the story that truly makes it come to life. A distinct voice for each character or a timely question that captivates the classroom can close the distance between reader and listener, even if they are not in the same room (or country!).
We invite you to come together with LitWorld as we cultivate a new generation of leaders, storytellers and academic achievers, who effect change for themselves, their communities and the world. The read aloud is a small act with a big impact, and the first step in inspiring young people everywhere to tell their stories. Join this global movement on World Read Aloud Day: February 16, 2017!