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“Imagine a world where everyone can read” … is the slogan on the website of an organization called LitWorld whose main purpose is the fostering of literacy education through stories. LitWorld, like so many organizations in the US, is partnering with schools to help promote the importance of literacy and literacy education for all (especially school age children). One of the ways that this organization helps to lead in the fight for literacy is through their World Read Aloud Day.
This day, which took place on March 6, was designed to encourage “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.” The celebration of this program is significant for my students because literacy education is an essential component to what we do in my school. Every day lower schoolers are developing and honing their literacy skills in comprehension, fluency, and expression. Students also develop their literacy skills when participating in things like readers’ theater, picture walks, or when they drop everything and read (D.E.A.R.).
True literacy education does not occur through reading alone. The connection between reading and writing should be incorporated into literacy practices and routines within the classroom each day. In elementary schools across the country, young readers are building their literacy skills (and learning to love reading) by sharing stories as well as creating their own. For primary grades, the use of journal writing and picture drawing can help to build a connection between reading and writing. Students also improve their literacy skills as they learn to model/imitate the elements of writing that they see as they read their favorite authors. Moreover, sharing their own stories with friends helps not only to build confidence in their writing but also in their ability to tell a good story. While all of these elements are essential to literacy education, true literacy education does not occur only in the classroom.
Literacy education takes place everywhere, and it works at its best when there is a connection between home and school. Parents can help to support literacy education by serving as role models through their own reading as well as their own writing. Parents can also more often provide added one-on-one practice for students especially when reading stories to young children. The simple act of reading together each night for 15-20 minutes can be all it takes to foster a life-long passion for reading while also improving the comprehension skills necessary for a deeper understanding of many different kinds of books. Ultimately that is what we all strive for in literacy education – a passion and joy for the written word. In the spirit of this year’s World Read Aloud Day, please remember to always share your love of reading with others every day.