(Belated) World Read Aloud Day

11 Mar

I intended to post this on Wednesday – when the actual World Read Aloud Day took place. But it’s been a busy week and I’m just now getting around to finishing and posting it. Normally I wouldn’t bother, but I love so many of these books and the theme is still relevant.

LitWorld, an international non-profit that seeks to improve the literacy of the world’s children as a tool to encourage leadership and knowledge,  started World Read Aloud Day for March 9 of every year. And I love a good book read aloud, so how could I not participate? According to the LitWorld World Read Aloud Day website:

Nearly 1 billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their name. What would you miss most if you could not read or write? Imagine your world without words.

World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their future: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their words to change the world.

Across the globe nearly 171 million children could be lifted out of poverty if they left school with basic reading and writing skills. Quality literacy education is the difference between life and death, prosperity and despair. This is literacy for survival.

I love the idea of reading aloud to spread literacy. It’s not a tactic many of us think about – we usually think about teaching someone to read or write, but having a book read to you when you cannot read yourself is incredibly transformative. So to celebrate this awesome day, I’m listing my Top Ten Books to Read Aloud.

  1. The BFG by Roald Dahl – Pretty much any book by Roald Dahl is a must-read aloud, but I love the language of the Big Friendly Giant as read aloud. Plus giggling over the made-up words just enhances the experience. Want an example? Check out the quotes on this blog
  2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak – This one is kind of obvious but every time I read this one out loud, I find myself changing my voice and the tone and tempo based on the plot and the character talking. A great story just lends itself to that kind of acting out.
  3. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen – This is probably a head-scratcher, but I love the natural tempo of Austen’s language and I actually find following the story much easier if you’re not used to that era’s language if you’re listening/reading it out loud.
  4. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – I wouldn’t have thought of this one either, but while I was reading this voraciously earlier this year, my mom asked me to read some of it to her while we were driving in the car. We both got totally wrapped up in the story in a way that I didn’t when I was just reading it to myself. Lovely, florid language like this translates so well out loud.
  5. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson – I think I’d heard this read aloud during elementary school 5 or 6 times before I ever actually read the book myself. Great tradition to continue around the holidays.
  6. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien – Because the chapters are broken out into manageable, stand-alone sections, this is a great book to read in pieces.
  7. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott – This is a great example of books that work well out loud because its more like story-telling than book-reading, if that makes sense.
  8. Oddkins by Dean Koontz – Sad to say this one is out of print now, but I remember being a little kid and my parents reading this to me every night, and it absolutely scaring the pants off me. I’m not a big fan of scary stuff now, but back then, I was all about it. If you can find a copy someplace, it’s a must-buy.
  9. Stuart Little by E.B. White – Again, just as with The Things They Carried, these chapters are broken down into easily digestible, easily separated sections for great read-aloud moments. Plus Stuart Little is one of the all time best children’s characters ever. You feel like you’re on an adventure with him when reading aloud.
  10. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – I wish I could have a fresh take on this book without any knowledge or deeply embedded imagery from the movie while reading this book, but one way to combat those all-too-familiar scenes we know and love is by reading this one out loud. By making it interactive, you have to focus on the words themselves and get a chance to use your imagine.

These are some of my favorite books to read out loud, but I had a had time narrowing the list to ten. There’s a great list on Goodreads of the Best Read-Aloud Chapter Books that you can find here.

What are some of your favorite books to read out loud?


One Response to “(Belated) World Read Aloud Day”

  1. Kerry March 11, 2011 at 2:36 pm #

    I love this! I’d put The Pagemaster and A Christmas Carol on my list. Not sure about the other eight, though. My husband and I read HP #7 out loud to each other, but that was because we only had one copy of the book and had to share 🙂

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