Love2Read 2014 – Australia’s Read Aloud National Event

Love2read was the brand used to promote the National Year of Reading in 2012.

Since then it has been taken up by a collaborative project that brings public libraries, government, community groups, media and commercial partners and the public together.

There is only one objective; to showcase and promote the importance and influence of reading and its outcome, literacy.

Tuesday 19 August from 6-7pm has been established as symbolically, a celebration of The Reading Hour; one hour in our lives we have been asked to set aside to undertake reading aloud with a child.

Sharing a book at bedtime with children, even if you can only manage 10 minutes most nights, will give your child the best chance of becoming a good reader

It’s well known brain development happens most between birth and three years of age. During that time parents should start reading stories and rhymes to children.

This should start when they are very tiny.

You can just read a book for yourself, but aloud at first. However, when they start to smile and respond, it’s time to enlist Dr Suess’s help.

These days parents of babies are also able to join into story times, rhyme times, baby bounce and toddler sessions, which are held at many local libraries around Australia.

That way you can help to give them a start along the road of reading, which will give them the very best chance possible to become a good reader, reaping the educational, social and other benefits that follow.

Australian author and actor William McInnes has been appointed The Reading Hour’s 2014 Ambassador.

He is a champion of books, one who believes in the importance and influence of reading aloud.

In a traditional sense the definition of literacy was considered to be an ability to read or write.

However in a contemporary context we understand that it is so much more and that definition has expanded to embrace every aspect of communication.

For any child, life is a creative adventure. Singing and reading aloud to children is one wonderful way to ensure that they embrace books as part of the life long learning process, whether they are in printed form or on a tablet.

Literacy is language in use – speaking, listening, reading, viewing, writing and drawing.

It involves a continuum of learning, enabling any individual to achieve his or her goals, to develop his or her knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in the wider society.”

Reading aloud to children increases their vocabulary and expands their knowledge of the world around them. It also whets their appetite for learning and improves memory, language and listening skills

Reading stimulates imagination and hones observation skills, promoting self-confidence and satisfying curiosity, encouraging positive social interaction and developing a positive attitude toward books as a source of pleasure and information

To help you start your planning for The Reading Hour at your home base we can offer a few tips.

Actor Chris Pine (Captain Kirk from Star Trek) Reads Aloud 2 Kids...

Create a special spot for children’s books. Arrange them neatly and within easy reach.

Extra attention to the book area shows children that you believe books are important.

Enjoy planning and finding the right book for the child you are going to read to. There are all sorts of books to suit a wide range of interests, ages and abilities.

Because you only have one hour to make an impression, its perhaps best to choose one that’s devilishly playful, intellectually stimulating and inspiring as well as emotionally involving.

If you are unsure then seek help and advice from those who specialize in Children’s books, either those working at the community library or out there in the specialist children’s section of the commercial world.

In America, they believe reading aloud to kids is so important celebrities and presidents even get in on the act.

Back in Australia, The Children’s Book Council presents annual awards to books of literary merit, for outstanding contribution to Australian children’s literature.

Awards are given for early Childhood, Younger and Older Readers as well as Picture books for toddlers.

It’s website also contains the list of notables for the 2014 Book of the Year Award, including the award for Children’s books.

  • When you are setting up a kids corner – for the youngest children use baskets to hold books .
  • Small books with stiff cardboard pages are easily lost when stored with large books so separate them out.
  • Keep the baskets on the floor or on a low shelf. Infants and toddlers love to empty the basket and then sit among their favourite books and enjoy themselves.
  • Make the book reading area cosy and inviting. Add a colourful rug, cushions and a small colourful chair for little children.
  • Stuffed animals are great reading companions and appropriate music makes for a merry accompaniment.

If you are going to have someone read aloud to kids, why not the President of the United States

For small children you can also choose a read aloud friend to share the experience. If they are not available then Puppets will work well too.

They can help you to introduce a story, to make comments in another voice and to also ask questions encouraging the child to think about the story and make assumptions and observations, at the beginnings of learning to be social.

It is also important to establish simple guidelines for kids about handling books, which should be treated like good friends. After all, they help us all on life’s journey in many ways that are incalculable.

Words are how the world works. Listening to stories from the first months of life helps children to understand that books are filled with delights, facts, fun and food for thought.

If their experience is shared, they will be all the happier.

Renowned Australian literacy consultant Mem Fox author of the book for parents ‘Reading Magic’ tells us that all children need 1000 stories read aloud to them before they learn to read for themselves.

She says that Governments are realizing that ‘by providing attention, time and funds to promote early literacy, later less of their budgets will need to be spent on illiteracy, crime, depression, unemployment and welfare’.

For children less than five, reading aloud is a preparation towards success at school.  At this age they have a far greater capacity for absorbing information so the greater the opportunities to learn the greater their success will be.

For children over five reading aloud is all about assisting them toward success in life by expanding their experiences and teach them to enjoy being positive about themselves and others.

It would be remiss of us not to point out that there is also a need for reading aloud to adults of a certain age…those whose eyesight is perhaps fading.

They would certainly miss the ritual of reading newspapers as well as stories, which they have enjoyed throughout the 20th century and beyond.

Be an integral part of The Reading Hour 2014.

The Reading Hour

19th August, 2014
National Event
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

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