Did you know that World Read Aloud Day is February 1st?
Every year on World Read Aloud Day people from around the globe gather to read stories aloud and celebrate literacy as a fundamental human right. After visiting areas of extreme poverty in Nairobi, Kenya, Pam Allyn, a consultant and educator, was inspired to find ways to address the lack of basic literacy skills. That trip in 2007, planted the seeds for World Read Aloud Day and the global non-profit organization she founded, LitWorld.
With so much news coverage about poor reading scores, I’m frequently surprised to find that many parents (and for that matter, a significant number of educators) are unaware of the profound impact that reading aloud can have on a young child’s cognitive and emotional development.
A growing body of evidence emphasizes the positive effects that reading aloud or as the research refers to it, PCBR (Parent-Child Book Reading) has on strengthening language skills and the social/emotional well-being of young children. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics is taking this research so seriously that they are actively encouraging families with young children to begin reading aloud as early as possible. In other words, don’t wait until kids are starting Pre-K but start reading to kids at birth.
Need convincing? Check out these research studies that have measured the impact of reading aloud at home, in the classroom and in pre-school early childhood programs:
The American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that parents read begin reading aloud daily to newborns as a regular fun, family activity: http://bit.ly/Pediatric_Group_Read_Aloud
Pediatrics, the science journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that a frequent, regular read aloud program significantly improved language scores: http://www.reachoutandread.org/FileRepository/Mendelsohn2001.pdf
Another study in New York documented improved vocabulary scores based on parent-child shared reading activities: http://www.reachoutandread.org/FileRepository/Sharif2002.pdf
A research project measured the effects that reading aloud had on classroom readiness for young Hispanic children: : http://www.reachoutandread.org/FileRepository/Diener_etal2012.pdf
Classroom educators found that reading aloud in their classrooms has an impact on comprehension, as well as student motivation: https://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr213.shtml
The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University found that the interaction between children and significant adults in reading aloud can be instrumental in wiring the brain circuitry for communications and language: development: https://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/serve-return-interaction-shapes-brain-circuitry/
Finally, Jim Trelease, the leading expert on reading aloud and best-selling author of The Read Aloud Handbook points out that, ”… a child’s reading level doesn’t catch up to his listening level until about the eighth grade.” His popular handbook includes a wealth of data on reading aloud, as well as tips for how to optimize reading aloud to kids and how to help kids develop a love of reading.
These studies represent only a sample of the current research but they reinforce the unique contribution that reading aloud to kids makes on developing basic language skills and reading readiness, as well as strengthening their fundamental social and emotional well-being.
As World Read Aloud Day approaches on February 1st, please join us in helping more kids receive the read aloud time that will make a crucial difference in their lives.
For ideas about how to get started just check out the LitWorld web site at: http://www.litworld.org/wrad/