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Champion the 21-Day Challenge to Read Aloud

by Diane Paul
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Close up of young adult black father reading a book with his two year old son, close up, side view, backlit

We all know the tremendous importance of daily reading with a child. This practice promotes speech/language development, along with numerous other benefits—building vocabulary, providing consistent opportunities for bonding with parents and caregivers, promoting empathy and compassion, and establishing a life-long love of books, reading, and learning—among them.

That’s why this March, ASHA is teaming up with the organization Read Aloud 15 MINUTES to promote the 21-Day Read Aloud-ASHA Challenge.

The challenge hopes to help parents and caregivers form a habit of reading aloud once they commit to the challenge of reading for 21 days in a row. And what better habit could families form than daily reading with their children?

Read Aloud believes 15 minutes of daily reading with children ages 0 through 8 years can change the face of education in the United States. The organization’s mission involves spreading the word about the benefits of reading. Their goal to make 15 minutes of reading each day the societal norm, is one ASHA supports in various ways.

Efforts include collaborating on the toolkit, Communicating With Baby: Tips and Milestones From Birth to Age 5, conducting a poll on technology use and the impact on reading and conversation in U.S. households with young children, and providing resources on spoken and written language development as part of the Identify the Signs campaign.

While Read Aloud works to connect with parents through media, social media and a network of partners such as libraries and retail stores, ASHA provides a network of dedicated professionals who see families—often in their own homes and communities—regularly and in person. You’re in an excellent position to bring this challenge—and let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy a good social media challenge—to patient/client families, and to reinforce it in the following weeks during clinical sessions.

It couldn’t be easier. ASHA and Read Aloud are providing all the materials you need to bring this message to families. The project should generate the most buzz (and adherence) as a social media challenge (remember the ice bucket challenge?), but feel free to modify for families as you see fit. You also may want to challenge friends and others with young children or grandchildren—not just patients and clients.

It’s never too early—or late—to encourage a good habit. We hope you’ll choose to share the March 21-Day Read Aloud-ASHA Challenge, as a fun and easy way to make a difference in a child’s life.

Diane Paul, PhD, CCC-SLP, is director of clinical issues in speech-language pathology for ASHA.


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