March 4 is World Read Aloud Day, sponsored by a group called WorldLit, whose mission is to "empower young people to author lives of independence, hope, and joy."
I love this mission statement, because I believe that one of the first steps toward living a life filled with independence, hope, and joy, is through learning to read and learning to read well.
However, a life of independence does not imply a life that is removed from others. Rather, a life of independence, spawned through developing a love of literature and development of one's own voice, actually becomes a life lived in connection with others. I believe these connections occur because reading nurtures a sense of empathy, which gives us the capability of linking ourselves to others in understanding and action.
Some of my very best memories from childhood are of those where I was sitting in my mother's arms, with my brother at my side, reading from storybooks aloud. Both my brother and I relished those moments with her, and bedtime often involved negotiations for "one more story," or at least one more page from the large bound book we frequently read from.
Indeed, I don't think the power of sharing favorite passages or even whole books aloud diminishes with age. Haven't you often shared a favorite or thought-provoking section of anything you've read--part of a magazine or newspaper or book--by reading it aloud to whomever you're with?
At some point or another, as adults, we've all read something aloud, or listened to writing being shared in some way. Today, more than ever, in a world being gobbled up by tech games and video, I encourage us all to consider fostering this cherished art -- reading aloud.
Since March 4 is World Read Aloud Day, how will you celebrate? What will you share with another person in your life?
Happy reading aloud day!