Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Read Aloud 15 Minutes Campaign

I am on a mission to improve early literacy, and reading aloud is one of my favorite things to talk about when people ask how we can do that.

There is a ton of research about the importance of reading aloud:  how it prewires children's brains for later reading when they are young, how it exposes them to more sophisticated language and vocabulary, how it can improve fluency and foster a love of reading.  And I agree with every last drop of it.

Read aloud time is sacred in my classroom, but it's becoming more and more difficult to protect.  There are so many other things that pull at my time, and it's so tempting to get "one more thing" done instead of taking the time to turn out the lights, settle the kids down, and spend time with a book.  But it is a time in my classroom that I hang onto for dear life.  You know that scene from "Gone With the Wind," where Scarlett is hungry and she's on this hill facing a glorious sunset, and she finds herself eating something she just scrabbled out of the dirt?  And she stands facing the sunset, raises her fist, and says, "As God is my witness, I'll never go hungry again!"  That truly dramatic scene?

That's me and reading aloud.

So we do it.  Every.  Single.  Day.  I have favorites that I turn to every year, classics I feel every child should read or hear, like Charlotte's Web, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  I have seasonal favorites, such as Bunnicula.  And we have good reads that the kids always love, like The Chocolate Touch.  I also like to try something new every year.  Last year it was Ivan the One and Only.  The year before that it was The Penderwicks.  But I read, and they listen, and we have that shared reading experience that leads to conversations and comparisons and recommendations during reading conferences.

Reading aloud is important, and I'm out to share that with anyone who will listen.  So are the good folks at Read Aloud.  They have created a Read Aloud 15 Minutes Campaign to share that message with as many parents and caregivers as possible.  They are so passionate about it, they have got nationwide partners and they conduct wide-reaching media pushes to share the message.  And YOU can become a partner!  All you do is sign up and then agree to share the message through any avenues available to you.

It's one more way to share the love of reading aloud, and I'm so very glad they're here to help.

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