It’s World Read Aloud day on the 1 Feb! You may think only small children like to be read to, but you’d be wrong. Audiobooks have proved that adults enjoy hearing a story as much as children, and listening to a story is just as good as silent reading in developing understanding, empathy, vocabulary and more.

So why not start a reading group for young people in your area, even if they are teens? At Fundza we have a useful course to set you on your way that gives you tips and hints on the best way to stimulate reading for pleasure. And pleasure is what it’s all about. For too many children, reading is a boring chore associated with school – and reading interesting stories aloud, in a relaxed and fun way, can help to prove them wrong.

In the course there’s also a discussion around language use. English is often seen as the academic language, the language of school, tests and ‘literature’. But language is close to our heart and identity and it’s just as important for young people to develop their home languages, and see them as exciting, living carriers of stories that relate to their lives and worlds. And for these sorts of stories, look no further than this mobi site, which has stories in many different languages (go to search and then tags, and scroll down to find all the languages you can find on the site).

The course also explores where else you can find material for your reading clubs, besides There are organisations you can apply to, libraries you can use, and newspapers and magazines can also be sourced. But what’s important is that the stories are engaging – you don’t want to replicate school in your reading groups, where pieces of writing are comprehensions and tests, only there to test and challenge. You want your listeners and readers to get lost in the stories they read, and find all sorts of answers to questions they didn’t know they had…

And just as people love to talk about the series they watch, it’s great to talk about what you read – which character you liked, and why. Which character you hated,  what advice you’d like to give. And why you didn’t like the ending. All this sort of talk helps to develop ‘higher order thinking’ . So asking these sorts of questions during and after reading is more than just ensuring engagement, but is a way to help people hone their analytical and reflective skills, to apply their understandings to their own worlds. This is further explained in the course, with helpful examples of how to get everyone talking – not just the most confident ones amongst us.

This course is open to everyone who wants to run a reading club, and it is also accredited by SACE, which means that teachers who do it get professional points awarded.

So find the course here and sign up and start your reading clubs – and let us know how they go! Here

Tell us: have you ever been part of a reading club?