5 Ways to Create An Unforgettable Read Aloud Experience

Today's guest post comes from our wonderful World Read Aloud Day Partner, SNAP! Learning. Read on for read aloud tips and exciting details about a free book giveaway!

Another international event, another great excuse to snuggle down with a book! Snap Learning is thrilled to partner with LitWorld and help readers everywhere celebrate World Read Aloud Day.

As publishers of leveled readers, we know that reading aloud (and along) can have a profound impact on a young reader’s literacy skills.

To encourage readers both young and old to read aloud, we’ve listed out our favorite tips for making reading aloud an unforgettable event.

1. Sing aloud! Take your favorite poem, verse or child’s book and read it to a tune you already know. It won’t take more than a few tries to find to the right tune to fit your new words, and it can be remarkably exciting when it does.

2. Give a speech. Find a famous speech - new or old, politician or pop-star - and read it aloud for your friends, class or family. Extra points if you dress up.

3. Embrace a good love story. Sometimes we shy away from truly expressing ourselves. Don't be afraid to show your children what it means to get emotional about reading, and to make character's own emotions come to life by channeling your inner Meryl Streep. Things that work well: dramatic pauses, long sighs, a soulful face, arm gestures, and facial expressions. Don't be shy about moving around.

4. It's all about the voices. Y'all ever eyeball a para or two that looks like English, but just ain’t? Time to become the character! Learn the accent and then see if you can give that dialogue a whirl. Don't worry about sounding silly, in fact the only way you can go wrong is if you aren't silly enough.

5. Sound or act out a special word: Scan the material you are going to read and then choose a frequently occurring word or person in that passage.  For example, in a text that features elephants, there's no better choice than "elephant." Decide what action you will make to accompany the word. The elephants (trumpet like an elephant) walked slowly across the dusty plains. Most of the elephants (trumpeting noise) would stay together till they reached the watering hole, but Josey the elephant (trumpeting noise) was different. Your audience will begin to anticipate the next occurence of the word and will hopefully join in!

We hope you have a great World Read Aloud Day, and to help you spread the reading fun, we will be sharing a published Snap Learning Fiction Book on March 5th. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest to get your free book on the day.


"Reading Aloud Is Better Than In Your Head!"

We are so happy to welcome today's guest blogger, and World Read Aloud Day Partner, The Reader Organisation. They are based in the United Kingdom and are on a mission to start a reading revolution by connecting people with great literature through shared reading. Read on to learn more about their work and their big plans for World Read Aloud Day (officially one week away!).

"Reading aloud is better than in your head. It’s like you’re on an adventure, you can understand more aloud."

"But reading aloud in the group; that really helped me. It made me feel like I could do something. I read a poem to my colleagues and they listened."

"Reading out loud has given ‘me’ back to the world."

Every week at The Reader Organisation we take reading off the page and out of people’s heads, sharing stories and poems aloud in our shared reading groups running across the United Kingdom. We currently run over 350 read-aloud reading groups working with over 5,000 people, ranging from pre-schoolers to people at the end of life, in community groups that are welcome and open to all. Our groups meet in a variety of different settings, including schools, care homes and hospitals, criminal justice and rehabilitation settings, and workplaces. People in these places are from different walks of life, but are connected by the factor that underpins all of the reading experiences that we create: they enjoy great literature as it is read aloud by a group leader or another member of the group.

As we read for an hour and a half, the story or poem that we choose comes alive in the room, with words from centuries ago being revived and filled with new meaning relevant to our lives today. It allows us to appreciate the richness of one of life’s greatest resources and helps us to understand what we are reading in greater detail. But reading aloud brings so much more besides. Many of the people we read with on a weekly basis are lonely, isolated and otherwise cut off from society – some of the most vulnerable people. Hearing someone read is not only a huge comfort to them, but allows them to connect more closely to other people around them who are sharing in the stories at the same time as well as opening up emotions within themselves.

We have found that sharing reading in such a way has many benefits to our readers – including increased social interaction, self-esteem and confidence, improved wellbeing and positivity about life. Through reading aloud, many of our readers have been empowered to tell their own stories of what reading means to them and the difference it has made to their life, which can be read here on our website.

Reading is at the heart of everything we do at The Reader Organisation, and we take time to read aloud every day – not just in the shared reading groups we run out in the community, but also in our offices, where we read poems aloud with one another in each of our team meetings. 2014 is our third year of being a WRADvocate Partner of World Read Aloud Day, and we’re delighted to be sharing the joy of reading aloud as we continue to build our reading revolution across the country and the world.

We’ll be celebrating World Read Aloud Day by reading with hundreds of people in our groups taking place on the day, from Liverpool to South West England to London, with readers of all ages enjoying great literature. But as the day is a global celebration, we’re marking it in a special way by searching for readers from all over to share their favourite readings with us aloud and on film.

This year we are linking up with Liverpool Learning Partnership in creating a City of Readers, their initiative to make Liverpool – our home city - the foremost city in the UK for reading. We’re working with LLP to get people of all ages reading with one another and ensure that every child leaves primary school as a reader. Things are off to a great start – in January we held a 48 hour reading marathon at our base in Calderstones Mansion House, where we are creating a model reading community in Liverpool. Readers joined us to read parts of their favourite stories and poems aloud and proud, and our read aloud stars are featured on the City of Readers YouTube channel.

Throughout the year we want to showcase Liverpool’s reading talents online and the channel is the foundation for our World Read Aloud Day activity. Starting on Friday 21st February – we’ll share a video a day on our Twitter page (@thereaderorg) to get into the read aloud spirit, and we’re also looking for more people to send in their own videos of reading aloud to us so we can celebrate World Read Aloud Day in style. 

Wherever you are and whatever you want to read, you can join our reading revolution. All you need to do is make a recording of yourself reading (anything from 2 to 25 minutes long), save your video as a wav. file, include your details and a photo of yourself and send it to us by e-mailing bethpochin@thereader.org.uk. Together we can make WRAD 2014 the most special yet.

Treat Yourself to A Read Aloud Tonight!

Our amazing World Read Aloud Day Partner, the Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC), is giving us all a wonderful treat in honor of WRAD - author read alouds!

The first two read alouds are from Barbara Reid, who shares a passage from her book "Perfect Snow" and Marty Chan, who reads an excerpt from his novel "The Ehrich Weisz Chronicles: Demon Gate." Watch the videos below and follow CCBC on Facebook and Twitter to enjoy more author read alouds as we count down to World Read Aloud Day!


The WRAD Pack in Monterrey Mexico Strikes Again!

Today's amazing post of World Read Aloud Day inspiration comes from our WRADvocate and leader of the "WRAD Pack" in Monterrey Mexico, Vincent Ventura. Read on to read the creative activities that he has planned for his school and community.

World Read Aloud Day is just around the corner! On March 5, 2014 the American School Foundation of Monterrey Elementary School (ASFM ELEM) will be celebrating all day long. The WRAD Pack (volunteer teachers planning World Read Aloud Day) has been busy planning wonderful activities. Here is our plan:

1. Who's That Reader?

Students and teachers will choolse a favorite book and have their photograph taken holding the book so that it covers your face, only showing your eyes. The photographs will be displayed throughout the school.

2. Book Doors - Recycle, Recreate, Read Aloud Explosion

All classrooms will decorate their door as a book cover.  One sheet of craft paper will be distributed to each class and the remaining decorations will be made from recycled materials. Students may choose to highlight the work of a particular author or they may focus on a particular genre.

3. Drop Everything and Read

On WRAD from 8:15 - 8:30 am, the entire building will drop everything and read. Music will play in the background while students, teachers, secretaries, administrators and support staff are absorbed in their books.

4. Character Day

Students & teachers will be encouraged to dress up as their favorite book character and will of course have the book with them as well!

5. San Pedro de Pinta

We are rallying volunteers from our school community and other local organizations to come and read their favorite English or Spanish read aloud(s) to children at San Pedro de Pinta on Calzada del Valle in the open air!

6. Read Aloud Recess

We're encouraging all of our students to read aloud with friends during recess. Every child will have a chance to share a book that they think all of their friends should read.

Wherever you are I'm certain that you will have a wonderful World Read Aloud Day! To see updates and photos from the ASFM ELEM celebration join our Facebook community.

The Power of Reading & Words to Unite Us Across Continents

Our guest blog today comes from a longtime (and extraordinary) WRADvocate, Colby Sharp. Many months ago Colby approached us with an idea that would connect schools in Michigan with our LitClubs in Kibera, Kenya. As usual, it was a thoughtful, kind and beautiful idea. Read on to learn more!

Being selected the chair of the Michigan Reading Associations International Project Committee was a great honor. Our team, Suzanne Gibbs, Brian Wyzlic, and Niki Barnes, has had a lot of fun thinking of our project and how we can get our kids involved.

We have chosen to support a LitWorld group in Kibera, Kenya. Our group decided to support a group through LitWorld because we wanted our work to support something that was already up and running, we wanted it to be something that seemed real to our students, and we wanted our project to be able to support something that will continue long after our time serving on the Michigan Reading Associations International Project Committee.

Since we don’t have a ton of money ($250 from the Michigan Reading Association and the money our students raise), we knew that we couldn’t start something ourselves. We figured that the money we have could really help something that was already up and running get better. When we read the information below, provided by LitWorld, we knew that the Kibera Lit Club was the perfect group for us to support.

The clubs in Kibera were started out of a conversation with a local teacher there, Rose and our founder and CEO Pam Allyn. Pam asked Rose what her dream is for her students and Rose replied, “I wish I could keep my girls in school because they all drop out eventually, and so we created the Kibera LitClub. Since then, through our partnership with The Children of Kibera Foundation, our LitClub program has expanded to include over 100 girls and boys ages 9-14 in 6 clubs. They meet weekly and all the original girls in the club have gone on to secondary school, something that is particularly difficult in Kenya due to the cost of school fees and uniforms. All the clubs are led by LitClub Leaders and LitWorld's Regional Coordinators, members from the community who have dedicated their lives to improving the life outcomes of the children of Kibera.”  -LitWorld

For me, supporting charities at an international level can feel a little abstract. Our team wanted this project to be a way for our students’ eyes to be opened to the outside world. We wanted our kids to be able to see the world in a whole new way. LitWorld is helping us make this project eye-opening to our students by allowing them to Skype with the students they will be supporting. It is one thing to raise money to send books across the ocean. It is a whole different thing when the kids raising the money get a chance to meet the kids getting the books.

Meet the team:

Suzanne Gibbs, Warner Elementary School

Kindergarten through fifth grade students at Suzanne’s school will be collecting coins and cans (we have a 10 cent can deposit in Michigan) to support the students in Kibera.
Connect with Susan on Twitter, follow @Suz_Gibbs

Niki Barnes, Dorr Elementary School

Kindergarden through fourth grade grade students at Niki’s school will be raising money by having a hat day where students bring in change to wear their hat for the day. All the change will go towards supporting the lit club in Kibera, Kenya.
Connect with Niki on Twitter, follow @daydreamreader

Brian Wyzlic, Hale Area Schools

Sixth through twelth grade students at Brian’s school will be collecting loose change, collecting soda cans, and possibly having a hat day/pajama day to support this project.
Connect with Brian on Twitter, follow @brianwyzlic

Colby Sharp, Parma Elementary School

KKindergarten through fifth grade students at Parma Elementary will hold a coin drive to support the students in Kibera, Kenya.
Connect with Colby on Twitter, follow @colbysharp