Nick Cannon: sharing the power of words on World Read Aloud Day

Nick Cannon, actor, comedian, rapper, and author of Neon Aliens Ate My Homework, joins On Our Minds today, World Read Aloud Day, to share why reading aloud is so important to him and his family.

I’ve always felt the power of words. As a kid, poetry was the thing for me. I was a huge fan of Shel Silverstein, and loved reading all the Dr. Seuss books. Words are at the heart of how we all communicate, but for me, even as a little kid, words with rhythm and rhyme were the most powerful.

So now, as a reader, writer, actor and rapper—and as a dad—the way I communicate best is still through poetry. I know that my early connection to poetry influences how I feel now when I hear a tight rhyme, and makes me try to bring just the right cadence to my voice when I perform. All of this comes from my early life with books, and especially from having them read aloud to me by my family.

To me, World Read Aloud Day is a chance for everyone to pick up a book and share the power and joy of reading with a child. When I was younger, I loved reading Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss on my own, but when I first discovered the power of these stories when they were read aloud, I was hooked.

Today, reading aloud has become part of our routine at home. I read aloud to my two kids, who are five, usually before bedtime. It gives me a chance to learn about what kinds of stories they like to hear. I think I’ve passed on some of my love of poetry through reading aloud—my son loves my book of silly poetry, Neon Aliens Ate My Homework. (I guess I’ve carried my love of silly poems with me through life.)

My kids have always been surrounded by stories, and have loved books since they were babies. Because they’re still young, read-aloud time is the best because I get those few moments to hang out with them before they get older and want no part of hanging out with dad! Luckily, they still love the crazy voices I make for all the characters when we read together.

This time with my children is good family time, but it also shows them the power of communication and reading. Whatever books end up being their favorites, I know that reading is something they’ll have forever, and it will inspire them and allow them to excel in life.

Join the World Read Aloud Day conversation using #WRAD17.

Photo via Nick Cannon