In a few short days, people around the world will embrace the value of literacy for all and advocate for reading and writing as we celebrate World Read Aloud Day. This celebration for literacy provides an opportunity to unite a campus around a common goal, provide accessibility to all learners, model life-long learning, incorporate community involvement, and more!
I ask you to picture a read-aloud in action. Imagine an educator, parent, community member, or administrator sitting with a group of children. These may be primary-aged, elementary, middle, or high school students. Picture the age group that most closely resembles the learners with which you most often interact day-to-day. Now, the adult reader is holding a text, maybe a picture book, maybe a graphic novel, or possibly a young adult book. As the reader begins, he/she varies pitch, tone, volume, and pace to model reading fluency and incorporate excitement for the text. Periodically there are pauses for questions and comments from both the reader and the students. The facial expressions and body language from everyone in the room seem to follow the story line. As the story or time together comes to a close, there is an apparent eagerness for more.
Now, read the opening words of the Visioning Document, appropriately referred to as “The Vision” on page 4:
We envision schools where all children succeed, feel safe and their curiosity is cultivated. We see schools that foster a sense of belonging and community and that inspire collaboration. We see learning standards that challenge, and intentionally designed experiences that delight students, develop their confidence and competence, and cause every child to value tasks that result in learning. Ultimately, we see schools and related venues that prepare all children for many choices and that give them the tools and attitudes to contribute to our democratic way of life and live successfully in a rapidly changing world.
Can you see the connection between this opportunity for a global focus on literacy and our Vision? How might we use reading and writing to increase a sense of belonging and community as well as inspire collaboration, confidence, competence, choice, and contribution to our world?
I am unsure you can define success without literacy.
I.h Children and youth need role models and adult guidance and connections even more than in the pre-digital era, but the role of adults is different, becoming one that is more about facilitating understanding, raising questions, and designing engaging tasks that produce learning than lecturing and instructing.
Do you have plans to participate in World Read Aloud Day? Be sure to share your story using #WorldReadAloudDay on Twitter.