Warner School kicks off a month-long reading initiative Teaching & Curriculum The month-long campaign celebrates the importance of reading aloud to children The University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education is running its annual social media campaign to promote the importance of reading aloud with children of all ages. The month-long reading initiative themed “What Are You Reading?” encourages readers to document, share, and tag photos of themselves reading together with a child—or even a favorite childhood book—throughout February, using the hashtags #Read4Luv and #WhatIAmReading. The annual social media campaign aims to help ignite children’s passion for reading. Reading aloud daily to children improves their long-term success. It sets them up for a lifelong love of reading and books, according to literacy expert Carol Anne St. George, professor and director of the literacy education program at the Warner School, and it helps grow their vocabulary and their understanding of the world around them. “Sharing a book is a wonderful way for parents to bond with their child,” says St, George, who launched the annual reading campaign in 2017 and continues to lead this initiative. “Making connections from the book to real life, making predictions and inferences is a terrific way for parents to model good reading behaviors and practices that support comprehension. Reading together is fun and will provide lifelong happy memories of shared time well spent.”St. George offers the following nine tips for reading aloud and helping kids to “fall in love” with reading with Valentine’s Day on the horizon in February: Give children the ability to choose what they want to read—choice matters in motivation. When children have the opportunity to read for pleasure, allowing them to choose a book is one of the key motivating factors for getting kids to read more. Try different types of books, articles, and stories to help keep children interested and engaged. Some kids prefer non-fiction books, while others like fiction or children’s magazines.Make the read-aloud an enjoyable experience. Snuggle up, relax, and have fun. Take time with a page, and point out pictures and other print features. Children may want to take an active part by turning the pages when you read or being responsible for reading/saying aloud certain words within the story.Read with expression. Use funny voices for the different characters and sounds in the text. Fluctuating your pace—reading faster or slower—can help if your child becomes distracted. Your child may want to draw while you read or act out portions of the story. As your child gets older, increase the length of time reading together and the story’s complexity.Take turns reading aloud and encourage children to make predictions about what they think will happen next. Asking your child to make predictions about what is going on and discussing if their guesses were correct is a great way to show children that good readers ask questions in their heads while reading (this is called metacognition, or thinking about your thinking). Make connections between the story and your child’s life. For example, ask if a character in the story reminds them of someone they know or would like to know. Ask who their favorite character was or how the story could end differently. With family storytime, older children can participate by taking a turn reading. Listening to a story together grounds families and offers a shared experience to relate to. It is a misconception that children outgrow the benefits of reading aloud. Indeed, children of all ages can benefit from being read to. Children may want to hear the same story over and over, and that’s fine. Though it might challenge the adult’s patience, children still reap benefits from repeat readings of the same book. If your child likes one book, you can also find a book with a similar subject or by the same author.The month-long campaign kicks off on February 1, 2022. Readers near and far are encouraged to share photos of the books they are reading with children—or even some of their favorite childhood books—on social media, using the hashtags #Read4Luv and #WhatIAmReading, throughout February. Learn more about the Warner School’s programs preparing literacy teachers.