On Friday, February 1st, 2019, the whole world will gather to celebrate the human right to read and the power of reading aloud on LitWorld’s 10th annual World Read Aloud Day (WRAD). We connected with LitWorld’s Executive Director, Dorothy Lee, and her team to ask them 10 questions for the tenth WRAD!
Read the full Q&A below, and visit LitWorld's World Read Aloud Day website for tips and resources to create your own WRAD celebration at home, in school, or with your community.
1. Why did LitWorld create this day?
Listening to children is at the heart of everything that LitWorld does, and the origin of World Read Aloud Day epitomizes that. Our founder, Pam Allyn, was talking with a child about how wonderful reading aloud is, and how we can never get enough of it, both in the classroom, and outside the classroom, but so often it gets skipped over. The young student then said, “Everyone listens to you more and pays more attention to you on your birthday. What if there could be a birthday for the read aloud? So, in 2010, we created this day, and the campaign around it, because reading aloud is such a crucial tool for building strong readers of every age, because both educators and families far too often dismiss the importance of reading aloud or think it is too simple and fun to be a transformational tool—and because a kid came up with the brilliant idea of having a day just about reading aloud!
2. What do you hope the day will accomplish?
It has been amazing to see World Read Aloud Day take hold of communities across the globe over the past ten years. People responded to it immediately—in just our second year, we had several members of the education community say to us, “Have you heard of World Read Aloud Day? I think you would like it!” We hope that this day is a catalyst for drawing people’s attention to the importance of literacy for all, and the power of the simplest tools to build not only strong skills for individual, but also a whole culture of reading.
3. Who participates in World Read Aloud Day?
World Read Aloud Day is a celebration for all! No matter where you live, how old you are, or even how comfortable you are with reading, we know that you have stories to share, and stories to listen to and learn from. We believe that reading aloud changes the world. Everyone is invited and encouraged to join.
4. How can people host a World Read Aloud Day event of their own?
People get so creative for World Read Aloud Day. Teachers put together school-wide events celebrating their students’ favorite books to read aloud and they bring in guests—from crossing guards to local news anchors, to authors and illustrators—who join in via Skype. Whole cities and countries who even honor the day by taking to the streets and marching to advocate for the right to literacy and quality educational opportunities, or doing outdoor read aloud marathons all day! There are plenty of ideas and tips available in the downloadable resources on our website.
Register your event by visiting litworld.org/wrad and filling out our quick form to let us know how you will be celebrating and where!
5. How can people support the day on social media?
When in doubt, include #WorldReadAloudDay in your post! Search that hashtag on your social channel of choice and you will see the community buzzing for World Read Aloud Day. You can amplify those of us already talking about the day by sharing our posts, and express your own excitement as you plan your participation and reflect on your own favorite read aloud books or read aloud partners, past and present. Here is where you can find us:
- Twitter: @LitWorldSays, @Scholastic
- Instagram: @LitWorld, @ScholasticInc
- Facebook: @LitWorld, @Scholastic
6. How can people connect with authors for the day?
We work with several devoted individuals to create both author to classroom and classroom to classroom connections, and we also partner with Microsoft Education’s Skype in the Classroom to bring an even bigger array of authors and children’s book artists to the table. Kate Messner is a wonderful resource for connecting directly with authors who are excited to conduct read alouds. You can find about these authors and their availability on her website. We partner with incredible WRADvocates including authors and illustrators like Peter Reynolds and Jay Cooper, and education authors and advocates like Kylene Beers, Ernest Morrell, and Penny Kittle. Make sure you follow them on social media for WRAD related posts! You can also send your favorite author/illustrator/literacy hero a direct message—you might be surprised how excited they are to talk about reading aloud!
7. How did Scholastic get on board?
Scholastic not only publishes outstanding books and educator resources, but also distributes countless fantastic additional books, and always believes in putting children first, so Scholastic was a natural perfect match as a World Read Aloud Day sponsor for LitWorld. Clifford has been an integral part of our signature events for the campaign since we held a 24-hour “Read Aloud Marathon” in Times Square in 2011, and that set us in motion for this wonderful ongoing relationship, which now includes participation from all divisions.
8. Where can people find more resources for World Read Aloud Day?
All of LitWorld’s resources are at litworld.org/wrad, and Scholastic has a wealth of amazing material at scholastic.com/worldreadaloudday as well. When you register your participation, you can also feel free to include any questions and we will be in touch!
9. How can people get more involved with LitWorld?
LitWorld works with over 50 partner organizations in over 25 countries year-round to create more equity, opportunity and joy through the power of stories. We are always looking for more collaborators, so if you share our core values, reach out at litworld.org and let’s see if we can build a new story together.
10. Dorothy, what are you going to be reading on World Read Aloud Day?
I have a toddler daughter, so I read lots and lots of picture books with her absolutely every day of the year, and when I am lucky, also with her friends and cousins. World Read Aloud Day will be a special time to read together and also talk about how people all over the world are doing the same thing at the same time, because no age is too young to start having those important conversations. Even though she is “too young” for it, one of her current favorites is Peter Reynold’s The Word Collector. It is so powerful to start her on books where we are mostly walking through the pictures initially, and picking up a few of the key words and phrases, and then she already has a relationship with the book, and a lot of curiosity about it, by the time she is more able to understand the stories and the language. It is a privilege to watch her relationships with books unfold, and to be a part of it. Of course, I will also be reading aloud stellar #WorldReadAloudDay tweets to the LitWorld team in the office—it all counts!