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The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Authors & Illustrators Promote Literacy at Home

What if I told you that my greatest memories of bedtime stories didn't come from being read a book each night, but instead came from oral storytellings by a Spanish-speaking, illiterate abuelita. Her stories were THE best! They were mesmerizing, captivating, nail-biting, tearjerkers, life-changing, and many times, downright hysterical. Of course, she always had the right story to share with me at the right time. It's as if she could read me like a book.

We had the best of conversations that stemmed from her stories and I always found myself wanting more of her stories and more of our special chats.

And while I miss my favorite storyteller dearly, I'm comforted in knowing that I'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by so many other wonderful storytellers.

These special storytellers have this incredible talent in being able to breathe life into stories that we are able to connect with, laugh with, cry with, agree/disagree with, reflect with, and be able to experience them over and over and over again.

No matter what. No matter when. No matter where.

With the turning of each page, we are able to escape into a world that only these special storytellers can create. They are the true gatekeepers of storytelling and they hold THE key to a gift that keeps on giving. Who are these gatekeepers? Authors and illustrators of course.

Their stories can be mesmerizing, captivating, nail-biting, tearjerkers, life-changing, and many times, downright hysterical. It must be the sole reason why I can't wait to get my hands on a new book upon its release!

Me when I get the chance to purchase and read a new book!

So why push read-alouds for kiddos (and even adults)? Well, we know that read-alouds enhance a reader's vocabulary development, helps them in building connections with the written word (and visuals), strengthens cognitive abilities and comprehension, promotes conversations that overall impact oral language development, and ultimately motivates kiddos to read.

What's more is that when we read aloud a picture book or graphic novel, we are also supporting the importance of illustrations and the impact they have on a reader along with supporting the importance of drawing in general. Illustrating/drawing fosters creativity, visual expression and communication, assists in developing written and verbal skills, enhances motor skills, nurtures problem-solving skills, and supports logical thinking and abstract thoughts.

There's so much more to a book than just the reading. ~Maurice Sendak

During these unprecedented times, our favorite gatekeepers (authors and illustrators) have come together to give of their own time to support the importance of literacy in both the written and visual form. Authors and illustrators are currently hosting interactive read-alouds, interactive drawing lessons, and proving additional interactive games/activities for kiddos at home.

Below are a few of my personal favorite online events that I hope you and your kiddo(s) will enjoy.

I've also included a couple of links to articles regarding the importance of read-alouds, suggested books for your own reference, and a downloadable to keep conversations around books going at home.

Enjoy your time together with family at home, be safe, and stay healthy!

XO & Happy Reading (and Drawing),




Thank you to all the authors, illustrators, and literacy advocates who continue to shed light on the importance of literacy through their gracious efforts and contributions!


1. Storytime with Peter H. Reynolds

Watch and listen to Peter H. Reynolds read aloud his own books!

When: Weekdays at 12 pm EST

Where: Facebook


2. Storytime with James Dean

Watch and listen to James Dean read aloud his own books!

When: Weekdays at 12 pm EST


3. Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems!

Visit Mo's studio and doodle with him!

When: Weekdays at 1 pm EST


4. Storytime with Josh Funk

Watch and listen to Josh Funk read aloud his own books!

When: Saturdays at 11 am EST


5. Survival School with Dan Santat

Join in on the fun with online school activities, badges, and contests!

When: Daily posts

Where: Instagram


6. Storytime and Creations with Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Watch and listen to Debbie Ridpath Ohi read aloud her own books and share creative challenges!

When: Daily posts

Where: YouTube


7. Draw with Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Draw along with Jarrett J. Krosoczka!

When: Weekdays at 2 pm EST

Where: YouTube


8. Draw with Jarrett Lerner

Draw along with Jarrett Lerner!

When: Frequent Posts

Where: Website


9. Storytime with Brad Meltzer

Watch and listen to Brad Meltzer read aloud his own books!

Where: YouTube


10. Read-Alouds Spearheaded by Olivia Van Ledtje

Literacy Advocate Olivia Van Ledtje, known as @thelivbits, rallied up authors and illustrators for read-alouds! See all the fabulousness in the link below!



Need Access to FREE Online Books & Reading Materials?



Links to Read-Aloud Articles


The Magic of the Read-Aloud (ILA Teaching Tip)

Suggested Books


Downloadable Book Conversation Cards


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