World Read Aloud Day was created in 2010 by LitWorld, a New York City based non-profit 501(c)3 organization working locally, nationally and globally to lead and implement transformational literacy programs. It all began when LitWorld Founder, Pam Allyn, read “Where the Wild Things Are” aloud to a group of young boys in a first grade classroom. After hearing about the adventures of Max, one of the boys said, “Mrs. Allyn, let's make sure everyone knows how good this feels. Let's have a holiday for the read aloud.”
World Read Aloud Day has since become a worldwide movement, now celebrated in all 50 states and in over 100 countries. More than one million children, families, educators and community leaders unite on the last Wednesday of February to hold reading celebrations to honor the empowerment that comes from a literate life. SB&F joins LitWorld to help highlight some of the outstanding science-themed read aloud books and to extend an invitation to join in the celebration.
Why Read Aloud
Reading aloud is a simple, powerful way to profoundly impact children’s learning lives, regardless of zip code or life circumstance. The joy that children feel when they are marinating in the power of stories and ideas is immeasurable. And yet, wonderfully, it is measurable! Here are recent and exciting research developments and actions taken to raise awareness about the benefits of reading aloud:
- A six-year longitudinal study by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research found that reading aloud to children every day puts them almost a year ahead of children who do not receive daily read alouds regardless of parental income, education level or cultural background.
- The U.S. Department of Education Commission on Reading took into account over 10,000 studies and found that the most important activity for building the skills and background for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics announced in 2014 that pediatricians will now prescribe read alouds from birth in recognition of the important brain development that occurs within the first three years of a child’s life, and that reading to children enhances vocabulary and other important communication skills.
How You Can Join the Magic of World Read Aloud Day
World Read Aloud Day celebrations range from reading aloud over video chat with a friend who lives far away, to spreading the word on social media to raise awareness about the power of reading aloud, to school or community events that feature guest readers and storytelling activities. Below are resources to help you plan your World Read Aloud Day action.
- Join the World Read Aloud Day countdown on social media to spread the word about the power of reading aloud to your friends, family and colleagues. Sample social media posts and actions are available at litworld.org/wrad.
- Plan a virtual read aloud with an author, guest speaker, or another classroom around the world. The LitWorld website has all you need to schedule a special read aloud connection for World Read Aloud Day.
- Browse World Read Aloud Day classroom and community kits for read aloud recommendations, tips, storytelling activities and more! Head to litworld.org/wrad to download free resources.
- Wherever you are on February 24th, read aloud! Whether it is reading a passage from an article or inspiring book to start a staff meeting, or taking your child to visit his grandparents to read a favorite story.
- Make World Read Aloud Day a time to commit to reading aloud each day with your students, children (of all ages) or loved ones. It is a joyful action that truly changes the world.
10 STEM Books for Reading Aloud
A Chicken Followed Me Home, by Robin Page. Simon & Schuster, 2015.
Feathers: Not Just for Flying, by Melissa Stewart (Illus. by Sandra S. Brannan.) Charlesbridge, 2014.
High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs, by Lisa Kahn Schnell. (Illus. by Alan Marks.) Charlesbridge, 2015.
One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia, by Miranda Paul. (Illus. by Elizabeth Zunon.) Millbrook, 2015.
Raindrops Roll, by April Pulley Sayre. Beach Lane Books, 2015.
Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes, by Nicola Davies. (Illus by Emily Sutton) Candlewick Press, 2014.
Tree of Wonder: The Many Marvelous Lives of a Rainforest Tree, by Kate Messner. (Illus. by Simona Mulazzani.) Chronicle Books, 2015.
You Nest Here With Me, by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple. (Illus. by Melissa Sweet). Boyds Mills Press, 2015.
Waiting for Ice, by Sandra Markle (Illus. by Alan Marks.) Watertown, MA Charlesbridge 2012.
Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold, by Joyce Sidman. (Illus. by Rick Allen.) HMH Books for Young Readers, 2014.