IN a country where nearly 80% of Grade 4 pupils cannot read with comprehension in any language, including their home language, there is one day on the international calendar that deserves every educator, parent and child’s attention: World Read Aloud Day.Celebrated on February 5, World Read Aloud Day celebrates the power of words, as shared audibly among people of all ages.Reading aloud holds so many rewards.For one, this activity promotes a stronger vocabulary.One of the main ways in which children hone their language skills is through listening. Kids don’t just hear the word in isolation; they are exposed to the context in which that word is used.This opens up a world of possibility for them, and expands their communication potential.“Attention deficit” — this term is bandied about so frequently nowadays, but just imagine the power that is just waiting to be unleashed, in a few weekly “read aloud” sessions in the classroom setting. No phones to distract the thoughts, just someone who reads a popular choice of reading material, grabbing the audience’s interest, increasing the pupils’ attention span.Make no mistake, the right book, read by an enthusiastic reader, can make a world of difference to children.A well-written story can communicate coping skills to a group of pupils who might be faced with a particular problem.Reading aloud can provide a safe way of identifying emotions in the classroom or home setting; think of a topic like bullying, for example.A gripping tale on the subject can encourage children to express their feelings during discussion time, and help to diffuse emotions.Both in the classroom and at home, reading aloud undoubtedly promotes bonding.The quality time helps adults unwind as well, reinforces relationships and helps kids develop social and interpersonal skills.The child who grows up to read with understanding is set on a sure path of success. Help the children you know stand out of the crowd today.Since 1979,the READ Educational Trust has successfully promoted literacy across South Africa; reaching the historically disadvantaged and making a difference in the lives of children hungry for knowledge and skills. Together, let’s celebrate World Read Aloud Day. — Supplied.