World Read Aloud Day

The eleventh annual World Read Aloud Day will be celebrated on February 5th and I’m inviting #PhysEd and #HealthEd teachers to join in with this global celebration of the power of words. World Read Aloud Day asks everyone to celebrate the day by selecting a book, finding an audience, and reading out loud – it really is that easy.

World Read Aloud Day is a global literacy movement that spreads the message that the right to read and write belongs to all people. Here’s why that’s important:

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World Read Aloud Day was started by LitWorld and in addition to raising awareness of global literacy, at least 793 million people remain illiterate, it also aims to promote the power of reading aloud to children. In this World Read Aloud resource, Dr Monica Burns writes:

Young and old we all know the power of a picture book or short story. The research on read alouds is clear – when children listen to the voices of their teachers and family members read stories aloud they can become stronger readers!

As a PE and Health teacher of 25 years I know that there still remains somewhat of a stereotype about our profession and students still seem to be surprised when I share what I’m reading, and as a such I am intentional about sharing my love of books as often as I can. I think we as #HPE teachers can be overlooked when literacy initiatives such as World Read Aloud Day are celebrated, and for that reason I want to create a buzz on social media from our community.


I’m pushing this blog post out with plenty of time so that we can bounce ideas off of each other regarding books to read, and activities that can be incorporated on the day. Suggestions of ways to celebrate on February 5th include:

  • Read a subject specific text or article – with my high school juniors and seniors I might read from Spark by Dr John Ratey, or Brain Rules by John Medina. Both would actually help me attend to an Illinois PE state standard.
  • Introduce your students to one of the Young Adult novels from Kwame Alexander with a sports related theme. Try Rebound or The Crossover. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
  • Have your students write something in advance, perhaps about their love of PE, or advocating for the subject that we love. They could read their work aloud to their peers. Why not invite other faculty members to hear from these young advocates?
  • Share a picture book with younger students and let their imaginations run wild.
  • Read a book written by one of our very own SHAPE America 2017 Elementary PE Teacher of the Year – Lynn Hefele has written a number of books and if you reach out to her she might be able to cut you a deal. Her book PE Under the Sea sounds amazing!
  • Support a SHAPE America keynote speaker. I adore The Rechargeables:Eat, Move, Sleep by Tom Rath and have read it on a number of occasions when invited to be a guest reader for my own sons.
  • Why not invite students to bring in their own texts and have them read a selection in small groups, or while riding an exercise bike, on the elliptical or walking the track.

For 2019’s #WorldReadAloudDay I read the passage from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone that first introduced Harry (and the world) to the game of Quidditch. Then we watched a short clip from the movie before entering into a 5 day unit of Quidditch with my physical education class.

I also like the idea of our community posting photographs online of us reading. The hashtag #CaughtReading is a thing, perhaps we could flood social media with images of us reading in our gym spaces?

I propose that we continue this discussion online using the following hashtags:

#WorldReadAloudDay – this is the official hashtag of the event.

#HPEReadAloud – this can be our own hashtag. Health & PE teachers coming together to share our advocacy for literacy.

#CaughtReading – use in conjunction with one or more of the hashtags above.

We can also share our ideas in this Voxer chat. What books can you suggest? What activities can you share? What help do you need?

Links that will be of use: including their free resources page.

Did you know that #slowchathealth has a Book of the Month selection? You can find them all here.

*This blog post was originally written in January 2019 and has been updated to include additional information for 2020.

2 thoughts on “World Read Aloud Day

  1. Pingback: World Read Aloud Day | #slowchatPE

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