The month of March kicked off with the National Education Association’s Read Across America on Mar. 1 as part of National Reading Month. If you missed starting Reading Month with a bang, all is not lost—World Read Aloud Day is Mar. 6. “World Read Aloud Day is about taking action to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words, especially those words that are shared from one person to another, and creates a community of readers advocating for every child’s right to a safe education and access to books and technology” according to the non-profit literacy organization Lit World. Lit World’s mission is to “foster resilience, hope, and joy through the power of story.”
According to the Detroit Literacy Coalition, the functional illiteracy rate in Michigan is about 18 percent and the functional illiteracy rate in Detroit is 47 percent. Functional illiteracy is defined as being unable to read, comprehend and process information at grade- or age-level, but still able to “get by.” Further, the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) shows that in the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, “an estimated 14 percent of US residents would have extreme difficulty with reading and written comprehension… [and] adults with a high level of literacy are at 19 percent, a low level of literacy are at 49.6 percent and a moderate level of literacy [are] at 31.4 percent.” International figures reveal that the world-wide illiteracy rate is 21.6 percent.
According to the Center for Public Education (CPE), “Research shows that students who are proficient readers by third grade are more likely to be successful later on in school and in life.” Citing recent scholarly work in education, the CPE also asserts that “Beyond the academic benefits, third-grade reading skills are also a strong predictor of high school graduation and college attendance … [and, that students] who were behind in reading by third grade were four times more likely to leave high school without a diploma.” Such groups as the Detroit Literacy Coalition and the Taylor Reading Corps are working towards combating illiteracy rates through the work of dedicated volunteers.
Since March is Reading Month, use it as a time to start or increase reading in your life and as a family priority. It’s important that children see their parents read and that you read with and to them. Use World Read Aloud Day to kick-start or boost your family’s reading time both together and alone—but especially, on World Read Aloud Day, read out loud.
Four Easy Read Aloud Tips:
- Pick rhyming books to read with younger children.
- Select books with an even meter and easy-to pronounce words (for everyone).
- Pick fun or funny books or stories to help make reading an enjoyable experience.
- Pick your old childhood favorites to share with your kids (or kids in your life if you’re not a parent).
- High tech with a Kindle or tablet or old school with a physical book—it doesn’t matter—just read.
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