What an amazing week for celebrating the power of reading in our school! For the past few years, we have celebrated World Read Aloud Day and stretched it into a whole week. This celebration was created by an organization called LitWorld for a very important reason.
We think everyone in the world should get to read and write. Every year, on World Read Aloud Day, people all around the globe read aloud together and share stories to advocate for literacy as a human right that belongs to all people. ~Litworld
In fact, there are some pretty mindblowing facts about reading around the world.
This week in the library, we’ve hosted skypes and Google Hangouts with classes, libraries, authors, and illustrators as well as hosting an in-person visit with Matt de la Pena & Loren Long.
We’ve stressed many things in these connections. One of those is that we all should read as much as possible and celebrate our freedom and right to read.
Author & Illustrator Visit
On Tuesday, Matt de la Pena & Loren Long visited our 1st-5th grade to share their new book Love. This was one of the many stops on their national tour. Our amazing art teacher, Ms. Rita Foretich collaborated with me in the library to create art projects with every grade level in the school. We wanted them to know how much their book impacted us by showing them an art exhibit throughout the front halls of the school.
Matt & Loren started their visit with a reading of the book. Matt read the book from memory while Loren painted the front cover of the book on chart paper.
Then, they both took time to tell us their own personal journeys of how they came to work together on the book, Love. From Matt’s basketball scholarship to college to Loren’s mom encouraging him to continue his art pursuit even with the barrier of being colorblind, we learned of the many examples of love that filled these two guys lives. They brought messages to students about taking risks, loving and respecting your family, working hard even when things are hard, having empathy for people going through tough bumps in the road of life, and more. I hope that their messages will connect with students for years to come.
The power of their spoken word had our audience of 450 1st-5th graders captivated for an entire hour. We can’t thank Penguin, Avid Bookshop, and Matt & Loren enough for taking time to visit our school.
Class & Library Skypes
On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, several of our classes connected with other classes around the country via Skype and Google Hangout to read aloud books. This year, I tried to select books that had an element of discussion around doing good in the world. Selections included books like Love by Matt de la Pena, Be a Friend by Salina Yoon, We’re All Wonders by R J Palacio, Yo Yes by Chris Raschka, A Hat for Mrs. Goldman by Michelle Edwards, and Maybe Something Beautiful by Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell.
Each connection had its own variation. Sometimes students helped me read the text to the other class. Sometimes the two librarians alternated reading the text. Other times we read one book to our connecting class and they read a book back to us. We always spent time making connections with one another through sharing and questions. We talked about things like making things beautiful in our school, creating gifts to give to others in need, identifying wonders of our classmates, and what it takes to be a good friend. So many of our conversations were filled with meaningful ways to make sure the world is a great place to live, and we learned that we aren’t alone in our interests and routines.
Authors & Illustrator Skypes
On the official World Read Aloud Day, we had several skypes with authors and illustrators. Anne Marie Pace, Brian Lies, Carter Higgins, Donna Gephart, Jody Feldman, and Loree Griffin Burns all connected with students. I loved that they showed many of their books and then read aloud from one of them. Any time an author/illustrator connects with us in person or in Skype, they immediately become a favorite author/illustrator in our library. Their books fly off the shelves and stay checked out. This time was no different.
Brian Lies read from Bats at the Beach and then got kids to brainstorm a new bat drawing that he illustrated on Skype.
Donna Gephart read to us from a book that she had just gotten the ARCs for. We couldn’t take pictures or record anything, but it was so exciting to get an early preview. Loree Burns went in depth with students about her research process and writing about what matters in the world. A group of writers met with her and got lots of inspiration for their own writing. Anne Marie Pace and Carter Higgins both read from brand new books with a timely topics of love and Groundhog Day.
We are so appreciative of these professionals who take time out of their busy schedules to connect with readers.
As usual, we used Google Tour Builder to keep track of our connections and the books that we shared. It’s always fun at the end of the week to see all of the stories that have been shared and the connections we’ve made. Technology flattens our world and reminds us that stories can connect us across the miles.
Happy World Read Aloud Week.