Archives: Literacy

3 Helpful Ways Adults Can Be Part of World Read Aloud Day

3 Helpful Ways Adults Can Be Part of World Read Aloud Day

The big – as in worldwide – read aloud day is only a week away. Are you ready?

Next week, tens of thousands of people across the globe will read aloud to bring attention to the importance of stories, words, and reading.

Reading is like breathing in and writing is like breathing out, and storytelling is what links both. – Pam Allyn, founder LitWorld & World Read Aloud Day

And while the attention of many people is focused on young children and picture books, it doesn’t have to be.

Here are some interesting ideas for adults who want to show their support:

  • poetry pop-up cafe — businesses treat their customers to short poetry readings sprinkled throughout the day. (I’d love to hear Howard Nemerov’s “Bacon & Eggs” or William Carlos Williams’ ode to plums in “This is Just to Say” over the intercom system at my local grocery store. Or how about Emily Dickinson’s “There is Another Sky” over the loudspeaker of your favorite gardening store?)
  • skype with a friend – just as children’s author Kate Messner has put together a group of authors who volunteered to read to libraries and classrooms throughout March 5, you can skype with a long-distance friend to share what you are reading.
  • set up a book swap – co-workers, exercise buddies, or bridge clubs/bunco groups/Bible studies can include time to talk and swap books that they’ve recently read. The discussions are usually as much fun as finding new authors.(Wouldn’t it be great if all authors allowed their e-books to be loaned on March 5th? I’m always disappointed when I want to share an e-book with a friend, but can’t because the author or publisher has blocked it.)

So really, no matter how we highlight words and stories and reading on World Read Aloud Day, we should celebrate and encourage literacy in our communities.

I hope you plan to read aloud on March 5th!

Routinely Reading & the Power of TBR


You may have read or heard about the father who promised his 9-year-old daughter to read 100 consecutive nights. After celebrating their 100th evening, the reading team decided to keep going, naming their ritual The Streak, and stopping only when the daughter reached college, a grand total of 3,218 nights of shared reading.

Isn’t that remarkable?

When I think how difficult it is for me to add or subtract a habit to my daily routine – 364 days since my last diet soda, huzzah! – then completing an 8 1/2 year reading streak seems monumental.

Which, when we bore down on imagining their feat, is the power of routines; they free us from decision-making, both good and bad, so we coast on autopilot.

. . . on average. . . it [takes] 66 days until a habit [is] formed.  – Jeremy Dean, Making Habits, Breaking Habits

Perhaps a less celebrated reason for the father daughter success was that the father – a now retired librarian – had a book ready when one book ended or was abandoned. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts he had a hefty To-Be-Read stack.

Which, it turns out, is a key for all successful readers.

Donalyn Miller, a teacher and promoter of “wild reading”, says avid readers have reading plans, basically a TBR pile, whether the anticipated book is next in a favorite series or a must-read pressed on him from a reading friend.

Working to encourage my students to read both in and outside school, I notice that many disengaged readers haven’t picked up this lifelong reading habit – planning for future reading. – Donalyn Miller, Reading in the Wild

So the next time I complain about my huge TBR pile someone needs to smack me. Because anticipating a good read is as important as creating a routine for reading.