Wednesday, March 4th was more than just another day of our Read Across America Week celebration. It marked an international day of appreciation and celebration for literature and education around the globe. World Read Aloud Day was founded by the nonprofit organization LitWorld in 2007, and since has grown to be celebrated by more than 31 million people in 82 countries around the world. World Read Aloud Day is the celebration of “new movement founded on the belief that literacy is a universal human right. They set out to create a movement designed not only to further basic literacy, but to further productive, transformational literacy defined by dreams that can come true.“
When 4th grade students entered the library on Wednesday afternoon, they were greeted with the following video, to teach them about World Read Aloud Day and why we were celebrating it together.
This video was a great tool to spark a discussion about international literacy. I asked students – did you know that not all children around the world have the opportunity to read and write? How do you think they share their thoughts and stories, or learn about new peoples, places, and things? How would you feel if you had no books to read, or could sit and stare at pages but had no way to decode the information inside of them?
To help us celebrate World Read Aloud Day, Asha for Education traveled to Johnson to spend time with our students. Learn more about Asha by viewing their Facebook page here. The ladies from Asha shared fairy tales and famous stories from other cultures with Johnson students, asking students to compare and contrast the exotic versions of famous tales with their domestic counterparts. For example, I got to listen to one of Mrs. Rickabaugh’s student groups list the differences between an Arabic version of Cinderella and the American Cinderella – so interesting!
It was awesome watching Johnson 4th graders interact with our Asha volunteers. Each group shared meaningful conversations related to literature and culture. Many students also got a turn to read pages of the multi-cultural tales aloud, learning bits and pieces of foreign languages and pronunciations as they read.
To close our time together, students were asked to create their own personal logo for World Read Aloud Day. Many choose to include globes and books – a perfect fit for the day! Each student was given three book marks and a mission – use your logo to teach three new people about World Read Aloud Day. Spread the word about literacy and share the belief that every child across the world has the right to learn to read and write!
Thank you so much to our Asha volunteers for spending the afternoon with us, sharing stories, and bringing some fun new culture into our classrooms! We look forward to working with you again!