World Read Aloud Day has arrived. On March 4th more than a million people will take a stand for the life-saving power of literacy by reading aloud. With World Read Aloud Day, we can advocate together for three important things: 1. Every child has the human right to read. 2. A small act of loving kindness (reading to someone) makes a big difference and can change the world. 3. Reading aloud to a child every day is a powerful and simple way to turn a child into a lifelong reader.
Right now, everywhere on earth, children do not have access to the life-changing power of reading. Fifteen million children are growing up in conflict and war zones and refugee camps around the world. In western Africa, the Ebola crisis has shut down schools, preventing many thousands of children from reaching reading success. Here in the US, there is catastrophic disparity between a child's zip code and the likelihood he or she will graduate from high school knowing how to read or write.
On World Read Aloud Day, we create a global literacy movement. The read aloud is a symbol of the overall power of literacy but also in and of itself an actual tool that is proven to increase a person's literacy skills very quickly. Reading aloud helps build communities of knowledge and joy. Reading aloud can be done economically, nimbly and to create a bond in large groups. Reading aloud done one-to-one brings a sense of love and connection and well-being to the listener. Reading aloud models for everyone that reading counts.
Reading aloud ignites and sustains a lifelong relationship with literacy.
Scholastic has just published a groundbreaking new report showing that one of the top predictors of students becoming strong, voracious readers is the frequency with which they have been read aloud to. Scholastic's Open a World of Possible campaign, which supports World Read Aloud Day and helps it to grow, is dedicated to bringing every child access to daily read alouds that will change that child's life, immediately and always. The research proves it. Reading aloud to children every day puts them a year ahead of children who are not read aloud to, and this result stunningly took into account any socioeconomic factors. It is one solution that can cross economic boundaries and level the playing field.
The magic of World Read Aloud Day is that it shows us all that literacy itself has both a short term benefit (it feels good right away) and a long term benefit (immeasurable, immense).
In the Za'atari Syrian Refugee camp in Jordan, LitWorld and our partner organization We Love Reading lead a read aloud campaign to bring comfort and quickly build children's resilience after trauma. After just one month of regular read alouds from local moms and dads, children transitioned from drawing scenes of violence, war and death to drawing scenes of gardens, nature, animals and friends. They encountered these images, these possibilities through the texts that were read to them. They saw the possibility of a world of peace through stories of hope, imagination and joy.
Thousands of classrooms will virtually connect via Skype in the Classroom to read aloud with each other and with their favorite authors today. Pre-K classrooms in the new universal pre-k initiative in New York City, Detroit public schools and Newark community organizations are some of many, many advocates of all ages who have signed on to celebrate with students and parents. Across the world, girls and boys, men and women are raising their voices together, from Haiti to the Philippines to Kenya to Nepal to Cambodia to Afghanistan to Pakistan to Ghana to Mexico to Colombia and more, creating a cascading "wave" of sound and readers across time zones, turning this 24 hours into a grand celebration of the power of the read aloud to make momentous change.
Together, let us ignite the world with hope, possibility and joy for every child, through the magical powers of the read aloud. Join with us today.