Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Celebrating World Read Aloud Day!

Today is World Read Aloud Day and we at BFB think that's something to celebrate. Having grown up in a family where a high priority was placed on reading together, I can attest to the fact that those hours reap great rewards! Study after study affirms the fact that children raised in families that read together go on to perform better academically, are more socially well adjusted, and will pursue higher levels of education. One major study involving more than 70,000 people in 27 countries found that simply the presence of twenty books in the home was an indicator of increased propensity toward learning. Children raised in homes where there were over 500 books pursued between two and six more years of advanced education. Students enrolled in school systems where literature is no longer read but the emphasis is on worksheets and textbooks can overcome those educational deficiencies if they are encouraged to read at home. Books are powerful and if they are read together that power is multiplied.

Beyond the academic, good literature opens new worlds, encourages curiosity and wonder, develops empathy and compassion, and models virtues any parent would want to develop in their children.  A great story reminds us of who we are and who we'd like to be.  To Kill a Mockingbird has inspired thousands of young hearts to stand up against injustice and defend the poor. Miss Rumphius shows us the beauty that is always present for those who search it out. The simple and costly faith exemplified in The Clown of God pricks our consciences. Some of my fondest childhood memories involve evenings spent exploring the magical worlds of Narnia as my dad read aloud to his four wide-eyed children. We laughed at the hilarious antics of Mr. Toad in The Wind in the Willows. We bonded as Little Britches struggled through his difficult childhood in the wild west and overcame adversity at every turn. I remember my mom barely being able to finish reading Amos Fortune, Free Man as emotion choked her throat at the example of gracious generosity shown by the hero. Thus is the power of a great story, whether fictional or factual, it becomes greater when it is shared. A good story is not something that you can horde up and save for yourself, it is meant to be communal. Have you ever met a book lover who wasn't evangelistic about her latest literary discovery?

And, finally, good stories bond us together. Just as the ancients gathered around their fires and told the stories of Odysseus, we continue that legacy when we read with our children. That time of sitting close together and experiencing the same emotions creates bonds. It conveys to our children our values and beliefs. It creates opportunities for honest conversation, inquiry and explanation.

Today, we encourage you to set aside some time to share a great story with your family. On our Facebook Page, people have listed books that they are reading as a family. If you're looking for inspiration, that's a great place to check out. Also, please let us know what your favorite read-alouds are by leaving a comment below.  We would love to see what you're reading and what books you remember from your childhood.

Happy reading!

1 comment:

  1. Our favorite read alouds have been from Lamplighter Publishing. Books like Teddy's Button, Helen's Temper, Fire in the Sky, The White Dove, and Little Threads. We also enjoy classics such as Charlotte's Web and the Trumpet of the Swan. Even our history books have been a treat, like Johnny Tremain. Our favorite Bible read aloud has been The Jesus Storybook Bible.