The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf

Get Ready for a Global Book Party: World Read Aloud Day is Almost Here

At The Classroom Bookshelf, we champion the read aloud as an essential and joyful part of one’s literacy life.  With World Read Aloud Day fast approaching on February 3rd, we wanted to spotlight this upcoming global book party as a joyful way to lift up the power of books and children’s voices.

Whether students are in physical classrooms, learning virtually with their teachers, or learning with their families at home, the read aloud remains a cherished and important ritual to celebrate now more than ever. For over ten years, LitWorld has recognized that the gift of the read aloud cannot be reserved for the few. It must be available to everyone. Visit LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day site to register for this global event and to access WRAD materials you can use to support student learning in any context.

Why the read aloud? While literacy development is complex and multifaceted, the read aloud remains one of the most beneficial literacy practices in a child’s life. The benefits of reading aloud have been well-documented in reading research including building vocabulary, improving listening skills, improving comprehension, sparking curiosity, and strengthening bonds in the classroom or at home.

This year, in preparation for World Read Aloud, consider the strengths and needs of your students or children right now. What do they need most given the emotional challenges of the past ten months? Do your students need a light-hearted story to laugh out loud together? Do your students need affirmation of their inherent brilliance? Do your students need access to life stories that acknowledge that challenges are real but hope is always present? Browse our Classroom Bookshelf entries for titles that may add something new to your read aloud line-up with consideration for what your students need most right now. 

In honor of World Read Aloud Day, we hope you read aloud to someone you love. Be it a poem. A news article. A beloved story. Use this global event as a catalyst for more read alouds in your life. Share your story using the hashtag #WRAD21 on social media. Enjoy watching the world come together around one of the simplest but most profound things we can do for one another to offer hope, healing, comfort, and connection. 

Below, enjoy a brief video conversation between Classroom Bookshelf co-author, Katie Egan Cunningham and the Director of LitWorld, Dorothy Lee. Listen in for the origin story of how World Read Aloud Day began, for book suggestions, and for tips on hosting read alouds virtually this year. Books featured in the conversation include How to Read a Book by Kwame Alexander, Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by Joanna Ho, and Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston. 

Katie Cunningham About Katie Cunningham

Katie is a Professor of Literacy and English Education at Manhattanville College. There she is also the Director of the Advanced Certificate Program in Social and Emotional Learning and Whole Child Education. Her work focuses on children’s literature, joyful literacy methods, and literacy leadership. Katie is the author of Story: Still the Heart of Literacy Learning and co-author of Literacy Leadership in Changing Schools. Her book Start with Joy: Designing Literacy Learning for Student Happiness will be released September 2019. She is passionate about the power of stories to transform lives.