International Read To Me Day
Every year on March 19th, children are encouraged to remind the adults in their life to read to them. The day also empowers children to participate in the conversation about their own literacy.
You have probably heard that it takes a village to raise a child. On International Read to Me Day, anyone in a child’s village is encouraged to read to them. This could be a parent, grandparent, teacher, librarian, mentor, older sibling, or a friend of the family. It doesn’t matter who does the reading. All that matters is that anyone in the child’s village reads to them on a regular basis.
Children who are read to 3 to 4 times a week have reading ages that are six months ahead of those who only get read to once or twice a week. Reading to children every day nearly doubles their progress. This means these children are one year ahead of other children. When children are read to, or they read themselves, it can help them perform well on reading tests.
Other benefits of reading to children include:
- teaching children about the world around them
- helping improve their vocabulary and language skills
- developing their imagination
- helping them develop empathy
- quality time for adults and children to spend together
Children love being read to, so why not enjoy this activity with them as often as possible? They will greatly benefit from it if you do.
International Read To Me Day History
International Read To Me day was established by the Child Writes Foundation to encourage the growth and spread of adult literacy. It became clear that in countries throughout the world adult literacy is a problem, and many adults simply lack the ability to read even for pleasure. When trying to find ways to help offset this, it became apparent that being read to as a child helped to encourage literacy and a love of reading in adults. The result of these findings was obvious! A holiday needed to be established to encourage the foundations of literacy by reading to our children, and thus was born “International Read To Me Day”!
While the holiday is definitely focused on encouraging children to read, some of the fundamental facts about this holiday extend even into adults. Reading to someone is an intimate act, something that can create closeness between two people and bring comfort to those we share it with. In Victorian times it was not at all unusual for an elderly person with failing eyes to employ someone strictly to read to them from their favorite tales. Reading a story to our partner at bed time can help foster a sense of togetherness far more intimate than watching a movie together.