FOR 10 years, World Read Aloud Day has drawn global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories. Celebrated on February 1, it is well worth taking time to consider the countless benefits of this activity, and mulling over some staggering statistics surrounding literacy. Approximately 758 million people across the globe cannot read. According to South African government statistics, our literacy rate for those aged 15 to 34 sits at over 90%, whilst adult literacy (ages 35–64) sits at just under 80%. Of tantamount importance is the enjoyment of reading; a responsibility that not only rests on the shoulders of educators, but also falls on parents. For those of us blessed with a parent who reads aloud to us, we viewed it as a treasured, time-honoured tradition; one which surely had a hand in helping us reach our full potential in later years. Reading aloud is a great way of connecting with little ones. Along with the benefit of spending regular time with your children, this activity supports healthy brain development that forms a priceless foundation for success at school and on the journey of life. Which toddler doesn’t love sitting on their parent’s lap and hearing that beloved voice reading aloud to them? Reading aloud is invaluable when it comes to language development and promoting early literacy skills such as book handling and naming, understanding how stories work, recognising sounds and letters, expanding vocabulary and honing listening skills. Reading aloud also boosts confidence, helps children cope better with anxiety, develops memory and expands children’s worlds. Sadly, surveys show that only half of parents read to their kids daily, and less than 10% of parents read to their children from infancy. Read Educational Trust is all too aware of the power of literacy, and as a non-profit organisation, it focuses on promoting literacy across South Africa. — Supplied.