Saturday, February 21, 2015

5 Reasons Author Marti Dumas Loves Reading Aloud (And You Should, Too!)

5 Reasons I Love Reading Aloud (And You Should, Too!)

World Read Aloud Day is March 4, 2015. If you didn’t already know that this is an actual thing and not something I made up, check it out at

I needed to clarify because, in truth, the existence of something called World Read Aloud Day is totally something I would have made up. A whole day? Dedicated to reading? Aloud?!?! What’s not to like?

Now, to be fair, I was one of those super annoying [read: awesome] little kids who read every single sign we passed. Every single sign. With perfect diction.

“Woolworth!” “Winn Dixie!” “Tchoupitoulas!” “No Ped X-ing!” “One Hour Martinizer!” “Please Take a Number and Wait to Be Served!”

Nothing was safe. Not even the fine print on cans of air freshener. And my mother, bless her soul, never stopped me. In fact, it wasn’t until the end of kindergarten when I was loudly (and proudly) reading an Amelia Bedelia book during naptime that my teacher, Miss Carmen, gently suggested I try reading in my mind. For a moment I didn’t even understand what she was saying, the concept was so foreign. Would it even work? [Spoiler Alert: It did.]

The wide world of silent reading was open to me from that point on, but that did not take away the luster of read aloud. I love reading aloud—by myself, with my kids, with my class, to perfect strangers—and here are 5 reasons why you should, too!

Have Smarter Kids

You read aloud to them when they were really little, plus they have your genes, so they’re already smart. But why not bump that up to super smart? Genius, even? According to these people and these people, reading aloud to children even after they can read to themselves generally increases their awesomeness both in and out of school. Audiobooks improve performance, too, so no lame excuses like: “But I’m Driving/Cleaning/Cooking/Making Dinner!”

Form a Secret Society

Reading aloud with your kids makes for all sorts of inside jokes that other people won’t get. For example, “Mr. Fuzzypants” has taken on a life of its own in my family. If you can decode that one, you can totally join our club.

Annoy People in Public

To be fair, only people who are already annoyed will be annoyed by your reading. And then only if you’re on a *really* crowded bus. Most people will just be stoked to see you engaging in high-quality parenting. If they’re not, just smile, nod, and read on.

Sound Fancy at Dinner Parties

EH-ROO-DITE? AIR-YOU-DITE? Reading Aloud gives you a chance to say words that are usually only found in books—and be corrected so you sound erudite before things get messy. I promise you that there were a whole lot of BATTA-lions (roar) marching off to war before my mother heard and corrected me. And one of the smartest people I know wondered what the difference was between horse-doo-vrees and hors d'oeuvres for years.

Talk Like Pee-wee On the Regular

Silly voices work for the Big Bad Wolf, but why stop there? Even the most boring news articles can be made palatable with a good Pee-wee Herman impression. Go on. Give it a try.

Marti Dumas is a native New Orleanian with a passion for storytelling. When she is not teaching or parenting, she is reading or writing. She prefers to do some combination of the above within view of ancient oak trees or the banks of the river. Or both.

Her book, Jala and the Wolves, makes a great read aloud. ;-)

Get it on Amazon here.

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