January is one of the most exciting months of the year here at RAR. Why? Because it’s time for our 31-Day Read-Aloud Challenge, our most popular event of all.

Participants tell us that this simple challenge transforms their kids’ relationships with reading.

I know. That sounds like an exaggeration. But…well…see for yourself!

It’s kind of hard to believe something this simple can make such a huge difference, so you’ll have try it to believe it.

And there’s no reason not to: this is a Challenge for your kids (not for you, which means nothing is being added to your to-do list, cue the hallelujah chorus), and… it’s FREE.

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The 31-Day Read-Aloud Challenge will nurture family relationships while helping your kids fall in love with books.

Your kids will start their brand new year by connecting with ideas, books, and (best of all!) each other.

How does it work? [read_jump_to id=”registration”]

Step 1: Register for FREE

We’ll send you a Challenge packet right away:

You only need to register your family once; you don’t need to register each of your kids.

Step 2: Print the packet

During the month of January, your kids will aim to read aloud for 10 minutes or more  on at least 25 days.

They’ll keep track of their progress on the printable calendar, and you’ll have reward coupons to dole out along the way to keep everyone motivated.

Why 25 days?

Because life happens, and sometimes we miss a day or two. Choosing a reasonable goal helps us all focus on progress, rather than perfection.

Your child can read to anyone, including a…

  • pet
  • brother or sister
  • neighbor
  • grandma or grandpa
  • stuffed animal
  • goldfish
  • Plastic dinosaur
  • Polly Pocket
  • anyone or anything!

Step 3: Choose a reward

If you’ve participated in our 31-Day Challenge before, you’ll notice one big difference this year: we aren’t giving away book bags.

We used to collect names of kids who had read at least 25 of the 31 days in January. Then we’d randomly choose 100 winners and send them a library bag.

This was a lot of fun… for the winners. But last year over 16,000 families participated in the Challenge. That meant 100 kids got a book bag… and a whole lot of kids didn’t. Somehow in offering the prizes, we ended up sending the message that the real reward was a book bag.

Not true.

In fact, reading is its own reward! So this year, we aren’t offering book bags.

Instead, we’re including a list of reward ideas like going roller skating, having a family campout in the living room, or serving dessert every night for a week.

You’ll choose which reward your kids will earn at the beginning of the Challenge.

This way, every child who completes the Challenge is really and truly rewarded (rewarded, in fact, with what they really want: their parents’ time and attention.)

What’s the point?

We know kids benefit tremendously from hearing books read aloud.

But when kids do the reading aloud themselves, they make tremendous leaps in both their decoding skills and their comprehension. This is true for kids of all ages, not just those who are learning to read.

Reading aloud forces the reader to speak every word in order. In time, they develop skills in elocution, intonation, and pronunciation.

Even better, Challenge participants say their children form incredible bonds with each other. They often fall head-over-heels with reading, even if they weren’t voracious readers before.

What about pre-readers?

Kids who aren’t reading fluently (or at all) can still take part. They’ll simply flip through a picture book and tell the story in their own words— that counts!

If you have a pre-reader, choose books your child has heard read aloud many times before. You may be surprised at how well your pre-reader can retell those stories!

Here’s one of my little guys, doing just that in last year’s Challenge:

Feel free to read, talk, or coach your pre-reader through as much of the book as you need to. This isn’t a test. It’s a way infuse your home with stories for the new year.

All Books Count

Don’t worry about whether a book is below your child’s reading level. If they are reading aloud, it counts for the 31 Day Challenge.

And of course, remember that 25-day rule. There’s room for grace here!

We want to teach our children that anything worth doing is worth doing even if we can’t and don’t do it perfectly. (Not a bad reminder for us moms either, right?)

Families all over the world are welcome to enter, and we hope you do! There’s a reason this is the most popular event at RAR all year long, and that’s because it’s simple, it’s fun, and it gets results.

It may be the best thing you do for your child’s reading life all year. All you have to do is sign up and let your kids do the rest.

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