Today Is World Read Aloud Day

An unprecedented second post in one day for me. I recently learned from Ron Charles’s article in the Washington Post that today, February 1st, is World Read Aloud Day, an annual celebration hosted by LitWorld to draw attention to ongoing literacy challenges. I mentioned in my write-up of my bibliotherapy experience that one recommendation I was given was to try reading aloud with my husband. To that end, I got hold of the three suggested books below and we’ve dipped into all of them on recent evenings. At the moment we’re managing to do a bit of reading aloud every few days, which isn’t so bad for a start.

Dimitri’s book includes extracts by everyone from Neil Gaiman to Robert Macfarlane, all arranged under thematic headings. A special index at the back of the book orders the pieces according to how long they are estimated to take to read, ranging from three minutes to more like 15. So far we’ve tackled a handful of the shorter pieces; any of the longer ones we’ll probably split and each take half.

David Eagleman’s flash fiction collection is billed as being about the afterlife. The first story was a laugh-out-loud inventory of all the time the average human spends on different activities. Thirty-three hours sleeping versus 14 minutes experiencing pure joy. That kind of thing. I look forward to the rest.

Ella Berthoud particularly recommended Saki’s short story “Tobermory” since it’s about a talking cat (but is rather dark!), so we started with that one. Many of the others are only a couple of small-print pages. Have you read any Saki? What can you recommend?

Apart from classroom experiences, the last time I remember doing concerted reading aloud was with my mother when I was in my early teens. After I got home from school in the afternoons we’d convene on her bed to read Mark Twain short stories like “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.”

 

Have you done any reading aloud lately?

18 responses

  1. I love Saki. ‘Laura’ is a favourite. It appears in a nice collection by Daunt books called Improper Stories, as does ‘Tobermory’ and several other good ‘uns.

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    1. I shall bookmark “Laura” — thank you!

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  2. Thanks for remembering, Beck!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ll be sure to read to my boys tonight. Thanks for this post! Now that my eight-year-olds are very good readers, themselves, I read to them as much. When they were babies, it was _Winnie, the Pooh_; more recently, I read them the first couple Harry Potter books. My dog-loving eight-year-olds also enjoyed the Shiloh books. And, we just finished an audio book we listened to along our car rides to and from school: _One Dog and his Boy_, which was wonderful! As my kids become increasingly independent, reading aloud is one way we can have conversations in common!

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    1. Reading with kids has got to be one of the best opportunities. I’ll occasionally read a picture book with my niece or nephew when I see them. Unfortunately, it was “Even Pirates Poop” with my potty-training nephew last time!

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  4. I read aloud to my grandsons at bedtime when they visit a couple of times a month. Even though there it might have been a week or more since the last reading, they seem to know where they are in the story, and often beg for another chapter.

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  5. My dad and I used to read out loud! It was an evening tradition til I was fourteen or so; we’d swap off pages. Lord of the Rings was particularly fun to read out loud, all those crunchy proper nouns 🙂

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  6. I loved reading to my children, and now my grandchildren. Just the best of shared experiences. But I simply don’t want to be read to. I’d love to know how you found it. Do you think this will be a new shared pleasure for you and your husband? Convince me!

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    1. It’s been fine. My husband reads very well. I get a little tongue-tied, especially on the Saki stories. It’s relaxing, but I do wonder how well I take everything in, especially when I’m the one ‘performing’. After my husband reads something aloud I usually look back over it myself to be sure I got it all, and mark out any noteworthy quotes.

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      1. Hmm. We’ll see …..

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  7. Well I work as a TA in a primary school. This afternoon I was reading good old Charlie and the Chocolate factory to a class of year 3. Roald Dahl is great to read aloud.

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  8. My husband and I read to each other twice a week. Hubby reads Sundays and I read on Wednesdays. We’re working our way through the Outlander books. Hubby can do a lovely Scottish accent as he grew up there. We really love reading together, theres something quite intimate about it.

    I only recently stopped reading to my son, now he’s 13 he’s staying up later and we don’t have the time.

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  9. Glad to hear that the presciption is already proving a positive in your reading days! I don’t know Saki’s stories very well but Mel, at A Reading Life, has read a lot of his stories I believe.

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    1. We’ve read two of the Saki stories so far and both have been slightly surreal and flippant. Funny, but in a cynical, upper-crust sort of way. It will be interesting to try some others and see if that holds true.

      The Eagleman short stories have been particularly fun. I’m reminded a bit of Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman. My major problem seems to be that I don’t take in the words as well or engage as much when I’m listening, or reading aloud. I find I have to go back to the piece and scan my eyes over it myself to feel like I ‘got’ it. Maybe it will just take some practice.

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      1. Einstein’s Dreams is one that I barely remember, although I remember liking the idea of it a great deal. I do enjoy stories that play with our understanding of either/both perspective/time. Although that kind of story would be even harder to take in, when one is accustomed to wrestling with a story with one’s eyes and is suddenly adjusting to sound instead!

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  10. I used to read out loud to the kids all the time. But that feels very different than reading aloud to an adult. I tried, once, reading to my husband to get him into a book I bought for him. He’s not a reader, but I knew he’d like it, if only he’d read it.
    I’m not very good at taking in stories that are read out loud to me, which is one of the reasons I don’t listen to audio books. It probably just takes some practice. Do you find it getting easier as you go?

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    1. It definitely takes some getting used to. I do worry that my memory of anything we read aloud will just be sketchy. It helps if I look over the content with my eyes afterwards to ‘fix it’.

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  11. I missed World Read Aloud Day, but I read aloud with my kids this morning, and it was amazing… https://mrmatthewruddle.com/2018/02/20/kids-listen-even-when-theyre-not-listening/

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