Friday, February 24, 2012

WRAD


World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) is almost upon us – March 7th this year. I’ve already shared here what the day is and how I have celebrated in the past. This year the day falls right during our state testing. When debating on what to do to celebrate, I decided to just focus on reading to my students on a local level. I typed up the blog about WRAD and sent out an email to the teachers in my district and asked if they would be interested in participating.

The emails began rolling in. Elementary, Middle School, High School. Classroom teachers, special teachers, administrators. English teachers, math teachers, AP Chemistry teachers, Agriculture teachers, and more. We are small district, but as of right now around 45 teachers have signed up. Each day I get another email from another teacher. To say I am grateful for their participation is an understatement.

Yesterday a journalist from our tiny local paper came to interview me asking, What is this World Read Aloud Day we’re hearing about. I attempted to explain it. It isn’t my idea, I’m just passing it on. We talked about reading aloud to children, why it was important, and literacy rates. Then, she asked me a question that made me stop and think. What did I hope to accomplish with this event?

First, I don’t really think of this as my event. I sent an email to the staff at my amazing district. Beyond that, I am not really “doing” anything. But, why should we bring attention to this in our school or in our town? I had a few reasons. One, by having teachers and administrators read to our students we show them that we do believe literacy is important. We give them another reading role model. I am beyond grateful that English teachers are signing up, but I loved seeing Science and Math teachers there as well. Sometimes I think the kids just assume I love reading – I’m their reading teacher. Having others read to them to shows that it isn’t just me.

But what else do I hope we accomplish? By the newspaper running a story, I hope we are just one more reminder to parents about the benefit to reading with your children. Schedules and lives are busy. I know for many parents once their children can read, shared reading comes to a halt. And I get that. But some of the best experiences in our family have been through shared books. (Lately, the book WONDER) And it doesn’t always have to be chapter books. My boys and I shared I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen with Chris last year. An amazing picture book that became part of our family conversation.

Are you participating in WRAD? Please sign up at the site. And spread the word – they are trying to do some amazing things in the name of literacy.
 
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