Tomorrow is the 12th annual World Read Aloud Day. Grab your people — in person or on Zoom — and get lost in a compelling story together. It’s such a fun and meaningful way to connect with each other.
World Read Aloud Day is brought to us by LitWorld, a nonprofit organization that’s on a mission to ‘strengthen kids and communities through the power of stories.’ They’ve created a free activity hub with links to live online reading events, videos of stories read by celebs, games, printable goodies, book lists, and more.
If it’s been a while since you read a story aloud to someone — or had someone read to you — we’re here to encourage you to give it a try. Although audiobooks are the modern (and easy) way to have a story read to us, live storytelling is something special.
Sharing a story in real-time with other people is so much more immersive and offers an intimacy that can only be found when one human tells a story to another. Whether it’s on Zoom, in your living room, or under a blanket with a flashlight, you can’t top the experience of entering the world of the page together.
And, if we may be so bold, we’d like to suggest you read aloud to yourself once a while. It’s a wildly rewarding experience. Try it!
Four types of writing lend themselves very well to being read aloud: short stories, fairy tales, children’s books, and poetry. (The number one recommendation being, of course, anything by Dr. Seuss. Try Yertle the Turtle and Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?, which gently and humorously share messages that are so relevant to the world right now.)
At Strong Sense of Place HQ, David will be performing his all-time favorite read-aloud book Hug Machine by Scott Campbell and a new winter favorite Some Snow Is…, written by Ellen Yeomans and illustrated by Andrea Offermann.
Melissa’s go-to is the sweet book I Like You, written by Sandol Stoddard Warburg and illustrated by Jacqueline Chwast.
There are more free short stories and poems online than you could read in your lifetime. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Fairytales by The Brothers Grimm: Our favorites are ‘Snow-White and Rose-Red’ and ‘Rumpelstiltskin.’
Folklore and Mythology collected by the University of Pittsburgh: A massive collection of texts including Aesop’s Fables, ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ ‘Cinderella,’ ‘ Town Musicians,’ and so much more.
Library of the World’s Best Mystery and Detective Stories: We recommend ‘The Necklace’ by De Maupassant.
The Best American Humorous Short Stories: We recommend ‘The Hotel Experience of Mr. Pink Fluker’ by Richard Malcolm.
The Works of Edgar Allan Poe: We recommend ‘The Tell-Tale Heart’ for maximum read-aloud impact.
The Lottery by Shirley Jackson: It’s gorgeously unsettling and will give you plenty to discuss after storytime.
Contents of the Dead Man’s Pockets by Jack Finney: Mel read this short story about making the most of your life in tenth grade and still thinks about it at least once a week.
The Garden Party by Katherine Mansfield: Written in 1923, this atmospheric story explores how an upper-class teenage girl is forced to face class issues while preparing for her family’s posh garden party.
Victorian Short Stories: Stories of Successful Marriages: Perhaps [The Manchester Marriage’ by Elizabeth Gaskell — or Victorian Short Stories of Troubled Marriages: Perhaps ‘The Adventure of the Abbey Grange’ by Arthur Conan Doyle.
We’ve recommended several story collections on our podcast, all of which are fantastic reads and lend themselves to being read aloud:
Top image courtesy of Jordi Mora/Shutterstock.
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