It’s Time to Plan World Read Aloud Week 2018

It’s time for us all to start making plans and building excitement for World Read Aloud Day 2018 with Litworld.  This year, World Read Aloud Day takes place on February 1, 2018, but many of us will celebrate the entire week of January 29-February 2, 2018.

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World Read Aloud Day “calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories.”  When we connect our students through Skype, Google Hangouts, or other web tools, they experience the power of the read aloud and realize that they are connected with a bigger world that is both the same and different from them.  By connecting our voices through reading aloud, we are reading on behalf of the 758 million people who cannot read.

Shannon McClintock Miller, Matthew Winner, and I invite you to start posting your schedules on our shared Google Doc.

World Read Aloud Day 2018 Planning Document

This year, we’ve tried to organize the document by time zones to make it easier to find connections that work for you.  If you don’t see your time zone listed, please add it as a heading.

When you share your schedule, be sure to include:

  • Your name
  • Your contact info such as social media, Skype, and/or email
  • Your role
  • Your school and grade levels
  • Your location
  • List your time zone when posting your available dates and times

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After you post your own schedule, take a look at the other schedules and sign up on someone’s schedule to connect your students.  We’ve found that it doesn’t matter if same grade levels connect with one another. Often times, an older grade can read aloud to a younger grade or younger grades can find parts of a books that they can read aloud to an older grade.  There’s not just one way to connect.  Part of the fun is meeting new friends, planning your read alouds, and seeing what magical things happen during your connection that you weren’t even expecting.

We have many ideas from previous years on our blogs.  You can read more about previous World Read Aloud Day connections on Expect the Miraculous and The Library Voice.  Litworld also has several resources for you to use in your planning and connections including:

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Please let us know if you have any questions.  Happy connecting!

Shannon McClintock Miller @shannonmmiller Matthew Winner @matthewwinner & Andy Plemmons @plemmonsa

Picture Book Smackdown 2015 is a Wrap!

smackdown (8)Wow!  We had the most students ever participate in our 3rd annual picture book smackdown.  Even sickness and technical difficulties didn’t stop our students in 5 states sharing favorite books along with author, Laurie Thompson.

Here are a few behind the scenes notes:

  • There were multiple emails and tweets sent between the participating schools in this smackdown. We established etiquette for the hangout such as keeping things moving, muting microphones when we weren’t speaking, and only having about 5 students at a time share
  • We all prepared our students in advance of the smackdown but we each did it in our own way.  My own students had a basic script that they filled out.

  • The amazing Cathy Potter helped organize Laurie Thompson to join us. Unfortunately, Picture Book Month founder, Dianne de Las Casas wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t join us.  She was with us in spirit, though!
  • I had a group of 50 students!  Luckily 2 volunteers and a teacher helped me keep them organized in chairs and a parent frantically wrote down as many titles of shared picture books as she could.

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  • We all came into the Google Hangout early to test our cameras and microphones.  We communicated with one another through the chat in Hangouts as well as through text messaging if needed.

All of our Picture Book Smackdown content can be found on our Smore.

I would like to thank all of the schools who participated, Laurie Thompson, our volunteers, and all of the people who viewed and sent out tweets.  Thanks for celebrating Picture Book Month with us!

We’ll see you next year for our 4th annual smackdown!

World Read Aloud Day: Final Connections and Final Thoughts (Part 5)

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We closed out Read Across America and World Read Aloud week with even more connections.

Our day began with a Georgia connection with Misti Sikes.  We shared Beekle together.  I loved when her students said that Beekle reminded them of Baymax from Big Hero 6.

Next, Ms. Choate’s Kindergarten class connected with Donna MacDonald and her 5th grade students in Vermont.  Donna’s students passed the book around the group and took a turn read Piggie’s part in Waiting is Not Easy and Elephant’s part in I’m a Frog.

 

Ms. Seeling’s 1st grade class got to connect with author Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen.  She is the author of many books including Duck, Duck Moose.  Her son joined us  in the Skype and we learned that he was the inspiration for Moose.  We learned a lot about her writing process and how it takes many people to create a book that we see on our shelves.

Ms. Stuckey’s 1st grade class connected with Jeanne Cook’s students in Missouri to read Beekle.   We had a lot of fun sharing some of our favorite books with one another and seeing what connections we had to favorite books even though we were in different grades.

I can’t think of a more perfect way to close out our World Read Aloud week than Skyping with the amazing Jenny Sue Kostecki Shaw.  We have enjoyed reading Same, Same but Different in so many Skype connections with other schools.  Jenny Sue has a new book coming out in May called Luna and Me.  It is the story about a woman who lived in a tree called Luna in order to save the tree and the surrounding forest.  I’ve watched this book coming together through the posts that Jenny Sue has shared over the past couple of years, and I’ve been eager to hear it.  Our students were fortunate enough to be the very first students to hear a book read out loud.  This is the 2nd time this week that our students have heard words from a book read by the author for the very first time.  It is magical!  The students were hanging on every word, and you could tell that this is a book that is going to speak to students.  It is a fascinating and engaging topic, and it shows the power of how one person can truly make a difference.  I can tell that this is a book that will lead to some inspiring conversations and postive action in our world.

When Jenny Sue finished reading the book, our students gave her a huge round of applause.

Then, they had a chance to ask her several questions about writing.  We saw the very first versions of the book and learned that there were over 40 drafts of the book.  We learned about the salt technique that Jenny Sue used throughout the paintings in the book.  We also had lots of side notes from Jenny Sue’s daughter, Tulsi, which made the Skype even more special.

Thank you to each and ever school and author who connected with us this week.  Your reading, conversation, time, and inspiring thoughts have connected us to so many new and old stories.  I’ve seen library books flying off the shelves this week into the hands of readers, and it’s all because of the connections we have made this week.

I hope you will all take a moment to look at our map of connections and walk back through our week through our  Google Tour.  If you haven’t ever tried connecting for World Read Aloud, you can really do it at any time.  You can be sure that our school will be connecting next year during the 1st week of March.

View our Google Tour Builder Map.

Read about our other World Read Aloud connections, too.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Happy World Read Aloud Day 2015: Connecting Through Stories Part 3

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The official World Read Aloud Day 2015 is in the books.  We still have 2 days of connections, but it was fun to have a full day for the actual calendar date.

We started our day with enrichment clusters.  I have a group of 2nd-5th graders who are exploring coding and making in a variety of formates.  We connected with Okle Miller and her Kindergarten students in Tampa.  We read Rosie Revere Engineer and then my students had a chance to share some of the inventions that they are creating.  It was fun to see the messages of the book come through in their sharing.  Most students did not have a complete product and most had plenty of failures during the process.

Eli showed a lego mindstorm robot that he put together right before the Skype.  He has designed several robots, and this one was his version of a dog that you could walk since “everyone wants to be able to walk a dog and might not have one”.

Francisco showed his alarm that he made with littleBits that would go off when the sun came up.

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Ludwig and Malachi showed off their video game made of cardboard, Scratch, and MaKey MaKey.

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Louisa and Ansley showed off their blogs about how to use Tinkercad to 3d design.

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Taylor showed off his Barrow Peace Prize medal that he designed and 3d printed.

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Next, Ms. Ramseyer’s class connected with Crystal Hendrix and her students in Asheville, NC.  We read I’m Bored and once again had fun taking turns being the girl and the potato.  We also had the students talk about what they would write for a second book, and they were very interested in having the potato get eaten.

 

Ms. Wright’s 2nd grade connected with Jennifer Reed’s students in Newton, MA.  It was very special to get to share Beekle with one another.  We had some great discussions about the little girl in the book as well as dreaming the unimaginable and having courage.  We even continued our conversation after we said goodbye.

Donna MacDonald’s 4th grade students were such great role models for Ms. Heather’s PreK students today.  It was our PreK’s 1st Skype experience, and it was so special.  We read Wolfie the Bunny.  My students read the part of Dot, and Donna’s students were all of the other characters.

Getting to connect with authors is another really amazing part of the World Read Aloud experience.  Barbara O’Connor was our 1st author of the day, and she connected with Mr. Coleman’s 4th grade class and a few of Ms. Tesler’s students.  She read from How to Steal A Dog.

After the story, she took lots of questions from the audience.  We learned the story of the poster that inspired the book and the story of calling Willie’s real owners to give them a copy of the book.  We also heard about the revision process and how a book that is coming out next year is already heavily into this process with the editor.

Barbara even walked us through her house to show us the manuscript with all of its pages and markings.  Our visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing the 2 famous dogs in Barbara’s house.

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Ms. Mullins brought several 5th graders to connect with Margo Jantzi in Virginia.  We read Crankee Doodle.  Margo was hilarious with her pony voice, and I played the roll of Crankee.

Ms. Clarke’s students had a unique opportunity to connect with Mrs. P from Mrs. P.’s storytime.   Mrs. P. (AKA actress Kathy Kinney) is an advocate for reading and writing.  She is a master storyteller and encouraged all of our young learners to read and create as much as possible.

She told the students a couple of stories, but also gave them some thoughts to ponder.  We had great fun hearing poems and songs about her cat and even heard the very first thing she wrote when she came out of the womb in the delivery room!

We closed out our official World Read Aloud Day with Laurel Snyder.  She read to Mr. Coleman’s 4th grade from Free to Be You and Me, a favorite childhood book.  It brought up some interesting things to think about in regards to “boy books” and “girl books”.  We loved Laurel’s voices for the babies in the selection from this book.

Another thing that I love about World Read Aloud week is that the books that we share aloud and the books that are by the authors that we connect with are immediately checked out of the library.  I love seeing readers get so excited about finding a book that they have a connection with.

I closed out World Read Aloud Day at my house by reading aloud Some Bugs, Toys Galore, and Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons with my son, Anderson.

We have 2 more days of connectionthis week, and we can’t wait to see what happens!

Connecting through Stories: 2015 World Read Aloud Day Part 2

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Wow!  Day 2 was busy.  We had much smoother Skype connections and plenty of stories.  Here’s a quick look at what happened.

Ms. Hicks’ 3rd grade ELT students connected with Crystal Hendrix in Asheville, NC.  We shared the story I’m Bored.  Then, students had fun asking about life in each other’s communities.  We made several connections between Asheville and Athens including college towns and weather.

Next Ms. Brink and Ms. Wright’s 2nd grade connected with Carol Scrimgeour and her 2nd grade in Essex, VT.  We read the story Mr. Tiger Goes Wild.  We had our students form lines and step up to the camera and take turns reading pages of the book.  It was great fun to hear student voices reading across the miles.

Ms. Yawn’s 2nd grade came and read Elephant and Piggie Waiting is Not Easy.  We had some trouble getting the right Skype accounts connected for our author visit, but we finally got it worked out in time to make our connection with Alison Randall, author of The Wheat Doll.  She told us about her book and then read from Roald Dahl’s The Witches.  It was scary fun.

Ms. Clarke’s 3rd grade class connected with Cathy Potter’s students in Maine.  We were fortunate to be joined by Natalie Lloyd, author of A Snicker of Magic.  We got to meet her camera-shy dog, Biscuit.  Then, we saw some of her favorite books before hearing her read aloud the first chapter of Snicker of Magic.  It truly was magical to hear her words drifting to Georgia and Maine from Tennessee.  We even got to hear just a bit about her book that was just sent off to the editor.

Ms. Clarke plans to read Natalie’s book to her class as their next read aloud, so The Beedle just happened to put a new copy of the book in Ms. Clarke’s box.

Ms. Ramsey’s 3rd grade connected with Shannon Hyman’s Kindergarten in Virginia.  We were joined by author Melissa Guion.  She shared her wonderful penguin stories and illustrations.  Shannon’s students were able to share some facts about penguins that they had just learned.

Ms. Em’s 1st grade connected with Okle Miller’s Kindergarten in Tampa, FL.  We were joined by the amazing poet Laura Purdie Salas.  She had our students chanting poetry about rocks and listening to poems about books and unusual pets.

Ms. Slongo’s 4th grade had a special treat Skyping with Barbara Walsh, author of The Poppy Lady.  Barbara visited our school last year in person and it was her very first school visit.  This time, we were her very first Skype visit.  Our students loved hearing about the Athens connection to Moina, who is responsible for getting the poppy to be a symbol of remembrance.

Finally, we closed out our day with a high-energy Skype with 2 authors, Ame Dyckman and Adam Lehrhaupt.  These two were full of laughs and energy.  They took questions and then shared some stories.  Adam shared a book that isn’t coming out until October (shhhh….don’t tell anyone).  Ame shared Wolfie the Bunny.  Ame even sent some amazing book swag for all of the readers in the class.

It was truly an amazing day.  It was exhausting, but we feel connected to so many readers across our great country.  Thank you to each and every author and class who connected with us for World Read Aloud Day.

Let’s All Connect For LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day Again In March

World Read Aloud Day — LitWorld

On March 4th, we will celebrate World Read Aloud Day with LitWorld.  This special day “calls global attention to the importance of reading aloud and sharing stories”.

For teacher librarians and other educators, it has come to be a week-long celebration of sharing stories through Skype and Google Hangouts. This year, these connections will happen on March 2-6.Jenny & Ame (2) small

Connecting through stories is always such a rewarding experience for our students.  Students often discover that we are all very much the same even though we are different.

Shannon McClintock Miller and I invite you to post your schedule to our shared Google Doc and start making connections for this special week.  You may even discover a long-time collaborative partner through this one experience.

2015 World Read Aloud Day Blog   Google Docs

You can read about our 2014 World Read Aloud Day experiences in my post “World Read Aloud Day Final Thoughts” as well as others on the Barrow Media Center Blog.  Shannon shares how she documented her school’s World Read Aloud Week via a Smore journal.

Be sure to check out the LitWorld site for more information on planning for World Read Aloud Day.  They even have a special classroom kit with ideas for schools.

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If you are interested in connecting with others on this day, please add your name, schedule, and ideas to the informations in the Google Doc that we started.  This will begin to fill up with others around the world as they want to connect their students and schools too.  We plan to celebrate throughout the entire week of March 2-6th.


Google Tour

We think it’s important to know that there’s no “right” way to plan for World Read Aloud Day.  Whatever you decide to do will be the right plan for your school and your students.  Whatever you do, your life will be richly rewarded with the power of spoken word and voices connecting together across the miles to lift up our right to read!

In the words of Kate DiCamillo, National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, “Stories Connect Us”.  We can’t wait to connect students around the world through story.

Exploring Themes & Goals at the Decatur Book Festival

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I’m no stranger to the Decatur Book Festival.  This Labor Day weekend tradition always has a prime spot on my calendar each year.  It’s not often that you get the opportunity to connect with so many profound adult, teen, and children’s authors in one location.  Each year, the festival seems to take on new life and I gain something for myself, for my own children, and for my students every time I attend.

This year, the children’s stage featured panels of authors and illustrators rather than single speakers.  Panels were organized around themes and were facilitated by a children’s author or literature-loving moderator.  I loved this revision to how the festival worked in the past because the facilitators of each panel made sure that the audience learned about each author/illustrator, each book, the process behind how it was created, as well as exploring the theme of the panel.

Here are a few of the sessions I attended.

Bugs, Birds, and Birthday Cake!

This panel was all about the fun of animals and humor in stories.  Mac Barnett shared his upcoming book Telephone.  LeUyen Pham shared her book A Piece of Cake.  Angela DiTerlizzi shared Some Bugs.   One of the quirkiest things about this panel was when each author/illustrator shared 2 truths and shenanigan about themselves.  Each author/illustrator shared some pretty off the wall examples, so it was really hard to decide which of the 3 examples was truth and which was made up.  This brought about so much audience participation and engagement, but it also revealed to us each speaker’s personality which in turn revealed something about their work as an author/illustrator.

Pure Imagination

This panel explored the power of imagination in children’s books and kids’ lives and featured Matt Phelan (Druthers), Amy Krouse Rosenthal (Uni the Unicorn), and Kelly Light (Louise Loves Art).  This panel reminded us all of the importance of taking time to imagine and dream even as an adult.  Panelists also emphasized the importance of play and tinkering without judgement.  We each hold within us the power to dream and imagine and have to give ourselves permission to let the ability continue to shine through even in constraints that we face.

All in the Family

This panel featured family teams of author/illustrators including Frank Morrison & Connie Schofield-Morrison (I Got the Rhythm) and James & Kimberly Dean (Pete the Cat and the New Guy).  It was interesting to hear how married couples collaborate with one another on a project.  The speakers revealed that it can definitely be a challenge and a blessing to work with someone that you are so close to.  Each collaborative partnership seemed to have developed strategies to push one another while at the same time respecting one another’s creative talents.  Author Elizabeth Dulemba moderated this panel, and I loved how she highlighted each creative duo equally well.  She also took time to bring up the conversation of diversity by specifically pointing to I Got the Rhythm and it’s pages where so many people can find themselves within the illustrations.  The Decatur Book Festival had many aspects of diversity represented this year.  I will nudge that racial diversity wasn’t at the top of the list.  I hope that diversity will continue to be explored at this festival along with many other kinds of diversity so that readers will continue to find themselves in the books and in the authors and illustrators in attendance.

Great Books for New Readers

This panel focused on newly released books to hook a variety of readers including Jon Scieszka (Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor), Jennifer Holm (The Fourteenth Goldfish), Tom Watson (Stick Dog Chases a Pizza), and Mike Lane (The Vanishing Coin).  This was a really interesting panel full of fun and laughs.  Each author had a unique way of presenting his or her work.  Mike Lane performed a magic trick with the audience.  Jenni Holm shared stories of how her father kept bacteria cultures in the fridge.  Jon Scieszka performed his own magic trick by growing hair on his head right before our eyes.  It was easy to see why new readers would gravitate toward these authors.  They write stories that connect with readers, especially readers who want to read about magic, fun, experimenting, and just plain silliness.

This Really Happened: Graphic Memoirs for Kids

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This panel explored how real life events can be relived in a graphic novel format and featured CeCe Bell (El Deafo) and Jimmy Gownley (The Dumbest Idea Ever).   I had already heard lots of buzz about El Deafo, but when I watched CeCe Bell stand up and share the very personal story of where her graphic novel came from, I was inspired.  To take a life changing event that some people might look at as tragic or confining and turn that story into a graphic novel superhero story is a true artistic gift to readers.  So many students will find themselves in this character and feel strength in their own disabilities.  I can’t wait to put this book in students’ hands to read for enjoyment but also as a strong example of how our life experiences become the stories we tell.

All the Girls in the World

 

This was a panel of women authors who write about strong girl characters and featured Jennifer Holm (The Fourteenth Goldfish), Laurel Snyder (Seven Stories Up), and Megan Jean Sovern (The Meaning of Maggie).  The always-profound Deborah Wiles moderated this panel with carefully crafted questions.  Her wonderings explored the true stories behind the fictional novels as well as the hard topics that each author chose to explore in her writing.  This panel was the perfect way to end my festival experience because it left me with so many wonderings as well as so much wisdom.  Multiple times kids in the audience raised their hands to express that they experience sadness in their lives and survive that sadness, which reinforced the idea that authors need to include sadness in books.  We can’t shield our young readers from a world where sadness and heartache exists.  Books can show readers how they might persevere through these trials just as the characters in these 3 novels do.

 

How did the festival inform my library goals?

My library goals for this year really are proving to be something that I carry with me wherever I go.  To me, this means that they really are goals that matter.  In the past, I can’t recall writing goals that I could recite with memory or goals that I could connect to so many experiences throughout the school year.

As I experienced the Decatur Book Festival, I couldn’t help but think about my goals.

1.  To provide students, teachers, and families opportunities to dream, tinker, create, and share

Dreaming. Tinkering. Imagining.  These words kept surfacing throughout the whole festival.  Kelly Light talked about how she let her daughter pick 2 books at bedtime as well as share one story.  She believed in the power of using the imagination to create soemthing new as well as be inspired by the stories created by others.  LeUyen Pham created individualized illustrations in each book that she signed in her autograph line.  I heard her ask one person if she had a picture of a baby that a book was being signed for.  She drew an image of the baby in the book by looking at a cellphone picture.  She made my own daughter feel like a rockstar while signing her copy of Vampirina Ballerina and drew Alora as a ballerina in the book.  Throughout the festival, there were opportunities for families to spend time together dreaming, tinkering, and making from booth with cardboard boxes and art supplies promoting the new film The Boxtrolls to the Decatur Makers booth where a variety of maker opportunities existed for families.

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2.  To engage in global thinking and global collaboration

The panels organized by themes really pushed my thinking.  As I listened, I started to think…..what if global collaboration revolved around themes?  When I think about connecting around a particiular book, I mostly think about American-published books.  I honestly have no idea about books, authors, etc from other countries.  What if we concentrated on a theme, connected with other schools around the world, and read books and created content around that theme?  I imagine that we would experience new authors, new books, and new perspectives that we never dreamed of before. I really don’t have a definite path because of this, but it has sparked something in me that is listening and watching for opportunities for global collaboration and thinking.

3.  To empower student voice

During the “All the Girls in the World” panel, a girl stood up and talked about The Fourteenth Goldfish and Seven Stories Up.  She shared how reading those stories shows her and other girls that it is ok to feel they way that they feel and that there are other people in the world struggling with those same topics.  I wish I had captured her exact words so that I could carry them with me because she reminded me of how much wisdom our students are carrying.  That panel gave her an opportunit to stand up and make her voice be heard and she reminded me that I need to continue to think about the opportunties that I’m providing students to stand up and make their own voices be heard.  So many students need so many different kinds of experiences to find their moment to speak up.  My hope is that I can maximize those opportunities for the students of our school.

4.   To support the reading habits and curiosities of students, teachers, and families

Visitng this festival always exposes me to authors and books that haven’t been on my radar before.  By listening carefully to each author/illustator’s story, I have a personal experience to share with readers as they make decisions about the next book that they will explore.  Listening to each author/illustratore share they journey they have made to publishing the works that we hold in our hands makes me even more aware that every book on our library shelves holds a story of how it came to be and makes me want to know that story to share with readers.  I wish that more authors would use blogs and social media to share their stories of their journey to publication so that we could connect these backstories to readers.  Hearing these stories makes me want to dig a little more to connect readers with the stories of the authors that are hiding on our library shelves.