UR Warner School of Education kicks off annual read aloud campaign in February

By on February 4, 2019

Social media campaign promotes reading aloud with children

February 1 is the start of a month-long social media push to promote the importance of reading aloud to children of all ages. This year, the annual social media campaign, themed What Are You Reading? and sponsored by the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education, aims to encourage readers near and far to document, share, and tag photos of the books they are reading aloud to children, using the hashtags #Read4Luv and #WhatAreYouReading?, throughout the entire month of February.

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, love will be in the air during February. By taking the time every day to read to someone special, Warner School professor and literacy expert Carol Anne St. George explains that we are helping kids to ‘fall in love’ with reading.

Reading aloud has numerous advantages – both for children and adults. Research shows that being read to daily is highly beneficial for young people. Reading aloud with children of all ages – even after they can read – helps to influence their future attitudes toward reading and turn them into life-long learners. And it creates a positive bond between parent/caregiver and child.

The annual social media campaign, which first launched in 2017, has promoted the value and need for reading aloud to children of all ages, including babies. For the past two years, people have been invited to help nurture the love that grows with reading on Valentine’s Day and every day. However, that is only part of the message this year because St. George says the time to begin reading to little ones is even earlier – during pregnancy.

“Reading aloud for just 15 minutes a day to children of all ages, from the day they are born, can bring about a lifetime of love for books and reading,” says St. George. “Reading to babies and smaller children helps with language development and word recognition and develops a strong parent-child bond. However, reading to little ones even earlier – while in the womb where early language learning begins – has many of these same benefits to an unborn baby. It helps to set the foundation for life.”

Throughout February, people are encouraged to share pictures and posts of the books they are reading on social media and to tag all photos and posts with the #Read4Luv and #WhatAreYouReading? hashtags.

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