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In Honor of World Read Aloud Day

What's better than cousins? Cousins who read together! I came home the other night to hear my seven-year old daughter FaceTiming with her cousins (ages 7 and 10). This is not an unusual occurrence in our house. We live in New York and they live in Boston - so they've been known to chat endlessly through the miracle of FaceTime. I've witnessed them swap jokes, have virtual dance parties, even play Hide and Seek on FaceTime (I'm still scratching my head over that one!). It's all pretty heartwarming. I'm tempted to insert a photo to show you how gosh-darn-cute they are, but for now, you'll just have to trust me.

They really stepped up their cuteness quotient the other night - when they decided to do choral reading of The Bad Guys all on FaceTime.

If you listen to this video, you can hear them correct each other's pronunciation, hear them take turns equitably, and try to outdo each other's performance. Talk about engaging fluency practice! Look at the prosody, intonation, inflection, expression, and motivation in these young readers! Authentic fluency instruction all thanks to FaceTime.

I encourage you to think creatively about how you might do something similar. Are you away on a business trip? FaceTime your son and read him his usual bedtime story. Are you fighting laryngitis? Call Nana and have her practice reading with your daughter. Research shows that students are more engaged with repeated readings and fluency instruction when there is an authentic audience. Sometimes that authentic audience is an army of stuffed animals, like in this darling photo.

Sometimes that audience is the family pet, who is just trying to take a nap.

And sometimes it's cousins - who love each other so much that they'll use any reason possible just to connect.

So the answer to "What's better than cousins?" Cousins who read together.

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