World Read Aloud Day (February 1st) is a day devoted to the power of literacy and the transformational joy that comes from sharing stories aloud within a family, a classroom, and a community. People in over 100 countries across the globe join us every year to celebrate the ability of words and literature to create positive change.

This year, the celebration promises to be more magical than ever, as World Read Aloud Day is joining forces with Harry Potter Book Night, inviting fans from all over the world to rejoice in their shared passion for the popular series while banding together as a community to advocate for literacy as a universal human right.

Why Celebrate World Read Aloud Day 2018?

World Read Aloud Day 2018The read aloud has a profound ability to unite people, as it allows members of a community to experience a story (and all of the emotions therein) as a group. Opportunities to exchange insights, ideas, questions, and personal anecdotes with others arise, which enhance everyone’s ability not only to relate to the story, but to each other. It is through interactions like reading aloud that existing communities expand and become stronger, and new communities are forged.

One of the greatest examples of this is the global community of Harry Potter fans. With every new installation, kids and families would line up for hours outside of bookstores, aching to learn of Harry’s latest adventure and staying up late to get just one or two more chapters in before bed.

A Journal of Applied Social Psychology study demonstrated that these books were a gateway to empathy-building for young readers everywhere. Researchers found that after completing a Harry Potter book, readers identified with the protagonist, Harry, and began to show more empathy towards others and stand up for them in the real world. In other words, Harry’s empathetic quality in the books was contagious: it spread to those who read his tale, and created a widespread community of Harry Potter fans who could relate to each other.

Literacy empowers us to express ourselves, solve complex problems collaboratively, and develop rich, sustainable communities. UNESCO has reported that poorly-literate individuals are less likely to participate in democratic processes and have fewer chances to fully exercise their civil rights, and the World Literacy Foundation has found that if all children in low-income countries left school literate, 171 million people could move out of poverty.

It’s clear how vital advocacy for global literacy has become, and it’s why now, more than ever, we urge you to join us on World Read Aloud Day to make your voice—and your story—heard. We believe reading aloud together can change the world.

There are three major ways to empower your local community by joining the international festivities.

Expand Your Classroom:

Inviting guests into the classroom—other teachers, parents, principals, local business owners, politicians, police officers, professionals, etc.—to partake in the read aloud experience enables both students and guests to engage with individuals outside the realm of their daily lives, and share in the joy of storytelling. The opportunity for students to read aloud with individuals outside their classroom is an extraordinary way to amplify their own voices and consider new perspectives.

Make Reading Aloud An Event:

Literacy is something to be celebrated! Throwing a classroom party or starting a school-wide read aloud event can magnify the sense of belonging that World Read Aloud Day strives to bring to readers everywhere. Adding older students to the read aloud roster will make the event for younger students even more special and will build a strong community not only within a classroom, but within the school. The younger students will foster relationships with mentors that can carry on throughout the year, long after World Read Aloud Day is over.

Publishing Party:

Give children the tools they need to share their own stories—a few pieces of paper and coloring utensils will go a long way. The importance of showing children different ways to explore their voices through self-expression cannot be overstated. Hosting a “publishing party” in your classroom in which students write and illustrate their own books, share their stories, and then swap stories with their peers is an excellent way to empower students and get them excited about reading and writing while also cultivating their confidence.

There are many amazing tools available to motivate children to read, but the most powerful one is actively and consistently displaying your own excitement for reading. When your child sees you eager to read aloud, they will be eager to read aloud too! You can help us change the world, one word at a time. Join us on February 1st for our World Read Aloud Day and Harry Potter Book Night celebrations, and visit us online at for more details, materials, and tips to spread serious joy!