Global Read Aloud Revolutionizes School Reading – The Key to Getting Kids to Like Reading is Making it Real
When I was in grade 3, my teacher tried to get me to read a novel about an anthropomorphized mouse and a motorcycle. Although I was more than capable of reading it, the content bored me immensely. I just couldn’t connect. So, as any stubborn nine-year-old might do, I dug in my heels and outright refused “to read that book.”
I am now a long way from my own elementary education, but my experience in grade 3 taught me a lesson about kids and reading that has continued to resonate throughout my career as an educator: kids need to connect with the books they are reading and with other kids who are reading the same books.
Novel studies used to go something like this (and sometimes still do): the teacher assigns a book (or leveled books) to students and they, often begrudgingly, read them and answer a series of chapter questions. More often than not, the study culminates with a dreaded book report that includes a summary of the plot, some commentary about the characters and a superficial recommendation, after which the book is quickly forgotten. There is no personal connection to the text. There is little meaningful connection to other readers.
This kind of school reading turns kids off.
As an educator, I am always looking for new ways to engage kids and get them interested in reading. So I was absolutely thrilled to discover the most wonderful new reading program or rather, community: Global Read Aloud.
Created by educators in 2010, the premise is simple: “one book to connect the world.” And it works. In the almost seven years that Global Read Aloud (GRA) has been running, it has expanded from a grassroots idea to a global initiative. More than two million students from around the world will participate this year, reading one of the selected books with peers during a six week stretch. The students will connect about the book using postcards (both virtual and handwritten), Skype, Twitter, social media, and apps like Padlet and Edmodo.
Global Read Aloud changes the landscape of reading. It shows kids “that they are part of something bigger than them.” Reading becomes an authentic, engaging, collaborative and interactive experience for both students and educators.
Global Read Aloud gives kids a forum to connect, learn and make reading meaningful and real.
Whether you are a parent, classroom teacher or tutor, Global Read Aloud is a wonderful and authentic way to enrich your children’s reading experience. Check out the website and sign up: theglobalreadaloud.com. This year’s program begins on October 11th and runs through November.
Mem Fox Picture Book Study for Younger Readers by Mem Fox
This year’s choice for emerging readers is a series of six picture books by renowned Australian children’s author, Mem Fox. Titles include Possum Magic, Koala Lou, and Whoever you Are.
Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. Coe
A great choice for early readers, this book is told from the point of view of a dog and encourages young readers to see our world from a different perspective. The author’s style is fun and engaging, inviting young readers to connect with one another and evaluate their own position in the world.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Geared towards upper elementary students, The Wild Robot is a story about community, perspective, empathy and acceptance. Brown’s message that we are all similar is an important one and it resonates powerfully with young readers.
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
A Long Walk to Water is the GRA middle school choice for 2017. Based on the true story of Salva, one of the Lost Loys of Sudan, the novel chronicles a story of resilience and beating the odds. This tale teaches middle readers that we can all have an important and positive impact on the world if we stand up for what is right, take action to elicit positive change and believe in ourselves.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This novel features Connor, a thirteen-year-old boy who is grappling with his mother’s serious illness as represented by a monster in his dreams. The novel, adapted into a movie last year, sparks meaningful discussions about truth, loss and how we can all learn to face our monsters.