February 5, 2009

How Can We Encourage Reading Aloud?


What do you think is the best way?

Jen Robinson* posted this very question a little over a week ago and boy is there some interest! Checkout that never-ending comment list of people willing to step up for one of the best causes, um, ever--encouraging more reading aloud from parents and teachers.

There has been much speculation on the reasons some parents might not be doing this, but I won't go into that here. Let's just pretend for the moment they don't know how utterly essential it is. But more importantly, and I didn't see this in the comments so far, let's pretend they don't know how much freaky fun it can be.

That's something Mem Fox captures quite well in her book for parents, Reading Magic. She points out the sheer joy and intimacy of the moment. The other book I hope everyone has is, of course, Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook. He's retiring and I hope someone out there picks up the mantle of read-aloud guru and continues revising his book every few years.  Any nominations?

Public service announcements seem to be a popular choice. Many of the ideas are for shots of celebrities reading to their kids. I hope if this ever comes to pass that the kids aren't all tiny ones. Trelease admonishes us to keep reading to them every day until they leave your house. One of the ways he accomplished this was to make his older kids do the dishes and he would read to them columns from their favorite magazines to keep the connection going.  A recreation of something like that would make a great ad!

What else can you come up with?  Let's keep this going strong...

*here's an update on the response to Jen's original post

(image cc cayusa)


kiri8 said...

How about Madame Esme? Esme Raji Codell sure likes reading aloud!

Teacherninja said...


Jen Robinson said...

Thanks for writing about this. I think it's pretty much the best cause ever, too. And of course I agree with you about the fun aspect this. It's such a no-brainers - enjoyable for everyone, good for the kids in many ways, and more or less free. And yet ... so many people are missing out. It makes me want to jump up and down and get in people's faces.

But I concede that the general public doesn't necessarily care what I think - and that's where the celebrity PSA idea comes in. I want to see commercials of the President reading aloud to his kids, who can surely read on the their own. I want to reach people who everyone listens to, and get them to spread this message, the same way I'm trying to spread it myself.

Thanks for caring about this, too!

The Book Chook said...

Great post! I love Mem Fox's book but haven't read the jim Trelease one yet. Luckily, he has so much good stuff on his site!

One person with a great idea to spread the word was Magnet Lady. I interviewed her on my blog today. She drives around with an ad asking parents to read to their kids on her car!

Amy @ Literacy Launchpad said...

Ooo. I'm so glad another blogger is talking about this!

I think it's great that pediatricians give out info about reading with your child (at least mine does). I'm sure that reaches a lot of people.

I know there's so much more that can be done though... I'm thinking!