Thursday Feb 1st, 2018 is World Read Aloud Day, a holiday and literacy movement that is celebrating its tenth anniversary across the globe and has expanded from a small, grass roots program into over one hundred countries.
Its premise is simple: taking the time and having the resources to read stories aloud builds empathy and creates a sense of belonging to a reading community that exists world wide. Pam Allyn, founder of Litworld and creator of WRAD suggests that reading aloud can change the world. She says, “As we read we become stronger emotionally and academically. Reading fosters the development of seven strengths: a sense of belonging, curiosity, friendship, hope, kindness, confidence and courage.”
WRAD puts literacy front and centre and, if even for a day, sheds light upon the fact that 750 million adults around the world lack basic reading and writing skills, two thirds of them women. Its hope is that by making books and stories more accessible, that this number will eventually diminish.
On February 1st this year, millions of teachers, parents, libraries, schools, families, authors and communities have scheduled read aloud events to celebrate our connection as humans through the power of story.
As a member of CWILL BC Society I am a WRADvocate, part of that chorus of worldwide storytellers who believe in the power of sharing their tales and fostering the right to literacy.
CWILL is celebrating WRAD with author readings at one of Richmond’s largest and most culturally diverse schools, Henry Anderson Elementary. Three authors, myself, Suzanne de Montigny and G. Rosemary Ludlow will be igniting inspiration and curiosity in young audiences with selections from our prose. We are excited to be part of a movement that forges a lasting bond between readers and material and readers and listeners. We are also happy to be part of one of the Lower Mainland’s only events celebrating WRAD.
Some of my warmest and fondest childhood memories are of times spent being read to or doing the reading myself to someone else. Read alouds are a gift that keeps on giving. My parents and grandparents read to me every night growing up, bringing sleep on under the safe and comforting blanket of stories, words and images. I have been able to give this gift back to my own nieces and nephews and to audiences of children on my travels, bringing that same sense of wonder to the imaginations of children who will not only read, but also write the future.
People of all ages appreciate read alouds; they make them smile and foster communication and conversations; all of which are infectious. With a world of smiles in mind, how will YOU celebrate World Read Aloud Day?