Today is World Read-Aloud Day. Who knew? Even I, avid reader-aloud of books, didn’t know until last week.
But now that I do, I want to shout it from the rooftops: Listen up, everybody! Put down that remote control! Put down your iPad! Turn off the iPod! Silence your smart phone and chuck it in a drawer!
Now, go get a child or two. It doesn’t matter if they’re four months or fourteen years old. Plop them onto the nearest sofa. Find a book. You know, those old-fashioned rectangles of bound paper. Pick it up. Open it up. Sit on the sofa next to the children you’ve plopped there. Read them the book.
According to Jim Trelease, author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, “every time we read to a child, we’re sending a pleasure message to the child’s brain.” Neuroscientist John Medina calls this a “dopamine lollipop.” The brain likes dopamine lollipops; when it gets one, it wants more of whatever stimulus caused it. So reading aloud to your children creates in their little brains a desire to…