World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge Week 4: Raising Our Voices with Flipgrid


I’m participating in the World Read Aloud Day blogging challenge.  Each week, I will respond to a question along with many other bloggers participating in this global celebration of reading aloud.  Our students, teachers, and families will also be involved with these questions each week as I invite them to respond through Flipgrids, Thinglinks, and more.

For the final week, I’m asking students, teachers, and families to raise their voices by reading aloud parts of their favorite books.  We are using a Flipgrid to capture these read alouds because it gives students 90 seconds to read aloud.  To get them ready, I made a Youtube video of myself reading my favorite part of this year’s Newbery-winning book, Flora & Ulysses: The Illuninated Adventures.

Kate DiCamillo’s writing speaks to me in so many ways, but this particular part of Flora & Ulysses has proven to be inspiration for our whole school this year as well as our library.  We are expecting the miraculous every day!

Flipgrid Read Aloud

Visit our Flipgrid to hear more readers share their favorite stories, and feel free to try out Flipgrid by adding your own.

For more information on World Read Aloud Day visit 

To connect with other libraries and classrooms, visit our shared Google Doc.

Read Across America and World Read Aloud Day 2014 is Here!

World-Read-Aloud-Day-2014Wow!  I am so excited that Read Across America and World Read Aloud Day is here.  Some miraculous things have happened since planning for this week started in December.

The shared Google Doc that Shannon Miller and I created has been very busy and growing every day.

I’ve been having countless conversations on Twitter, Facebook, and email to connect our teachers and students with authors and classrooms around the world.  The global collaboration that has gone into this week is energizing, inspiring, and exhausting!  I can’t wait to see all of the planning come to life next week.  I know that there will be so many moments  that will inspire and surprise us during the week.  I’m also thinking back to last year and how the weather changed our plans!  I’m hoping for global great weather next week so that all of our connections happen.

mercy watson

Here’s a look at our week!

On Monday, we will have about 50 guest readers from the community reading Dr. Seuss books in every classroom.

These are a few of the books we will share with libraries, classrooms, and authors around the world during the rest of the week.


On Monday we will connect with:

  • Okle Miller and her students in Florida
  • Crystal Hendrix and her students in North Carolina
  • Wendy Garland and her students in Massachusetts
  • Jennifer Reed and her students in Massachusetts along with author, Peter Reynolds
  • Jenny Lussier and her students in Connecticut along with author, Ame Dyckman
  • Nancy Edwards and her students in Seattle, WA
  • Shannon Miller and her students in Iowa
  • Kathy Schmidt and her students in Gwinnett County, GA

On Tuesday, we will connect with:

  • Erika Victor and her students in Berlin, Germany!
  • Jennifer Reed and her students in Massachusetts
  • Heather Temske and her students in Roswell, GA
  • Laura D’Elia and her students in Massachusetts
  • Christy Brennan and her students in Pennsylvania
  • Shannon Miller and her students in Iowa along with author, Deborah Freedman

On Wednesday (the official World Read Aloud Day), we will connect with:

  • Donna MacDonald and her students in Vermont
  • Matthew Winner and his students in Maryland
  • Anne Marie Pace, author
  • Kate DiCamillo, Newbery-winning author and National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature
  • Sherry Gick and her students in Indiana along with author, Barbara O’Connor
  • Shannon Miller and her students in Iowa along with author, Jenny Sue Kostecki Shaw
  • Tanya Lee Stone, author

On Thursday, we will connect with:

  • Edie Crook and her students in North Carolina
  • Okle Miller and her students in Florida
  • Cherie Smeltzer and her students in New Hampshire
  • Shawna Ford and her students in Texas
  • Jenny Lussier and her students in Connecticut
  • Wendy Garland and her students in Massachusetts
  • Shannon Miller and her students in Iowa

On Friday, we will connect with:

  • Meghan Nels and her students in Massachusetts
  • Shannon Miller (Iowa), Matthew Winner (Maryland), and Jesse Klausmier
  • Cathy Potter and her students in Maine
  • Shawn Ford (Texas) and Shannon Hyman (Virginia) and their students
  • Stacy Ford and his students in Texas
  • Randie Groden and her students in Massachusetts
  • Shannon Miller and her students in Iowa with author, Tom Angleberger

Whew!  It will truly be an amazing week!

We are going to attempt to document our week as much as possible through pictures and videos. We are also going to work on a map of our virtual travels using Google Tour Builder.  During each Skype, we will make sure to ask where are guests are specifically located.  Then, after the Skype, I will pull up our Google Tour and we’ll add pins and details to the map.  By the end of the week, I can’t wait to look at the whole tour and remember our travels.

World Read Aloud Day Blogging Challenge #1: Read Aloud Memories

World-Read-Aloud-Day-2014For the next 3 weeks, I’m participating in the World Read Aloud Day blogging challenge.  Each week, I will respond to a question along with many other bloggers participating in this global celebration of reading aloud.  Our students, teachers, and families will also be involved with these questions each week as I invite them to respond through Flipgrids, Thinglinks, and more.  For week 1, I’ve created a Flipgrid.  You are welcome to add your own response to week 1’s question along with our students and families by visiting    We will be adding to this grid throughout this week.

The Question for week 1

What is your earliest or fondest memory in which someone read aloud to you?”

My Mom

My Mom

When I was little, my mom took me every week to the public library in our rural community of Blue Ridge, GA.  I vividly remember climbing the steps, walking up the ramp, pulling open the heavy doors, breathing in the smell of the used books for sale in the entryway, and being greeted by name by the public librarian.  The children’s section was small, but I had no problem getting an armload of books to take home each week.

My Mammaw

My Mammaw

My mom and I would sit in my bed at night and read aloud stories together.  Even more than reading aloud the words, we spent time imagining and creating our own stories about the pictures.  I remember looking at the characters circling the back of every Little Golden Book and how we would pause at each character and tell a story about that one character.  This shared storytelling experience was a foundation of my love for reading.  On this same note, my grandmother, “Mammaw”, would look at pictures with me and ask me what was beyond what we could see in the picture.  She had a talent for imagining what was beyond the edges of the illustration and telling it in a way that was fact.  “There’s a little barn with a man sitting on a stool milking a cow.  Do you see it?”  Whatever she said I believed.  Mammaw would also take to me to yard sales and used book stores to buy books for my own library and we would spend time sharing those stories and talking about them together while my parents were at work.

Those experiences led me to imagine and create stories on my own.  Magnets on the refrigerator, porcelain figures lining the shelves, miniature figures, and more all became characters in my own stories and just about anything and everything in the house became a stage.  My Mammaw even used a tape recorder (if you know what that is) to record me sharing my made-up stories.

I hope that when I read aloud stories with students whether it’s print, digital, or oral storytelling that I somehow unleash a bit of imagination that will lead to students creating their own story experiences in their lives.

This year, World Read Aloud Day will be a grand experience in our library.  Here’s a glimpse at what our week will look like. On March 3rd, we’ll kick off the week with in-person guest readers from our community. These readers will share favorite Dr. Seuss books in every classroom in our school.  Immediately following this, our World Read Aloud connections will begin.

Across the week, we have at least 36 connections planned with libraries and classrooms in Florida, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Vermont, Maryland, Indiana, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Texas, Maine, and Germany!

We’ll also connect with authors like Tanya Lee Stone, Barbara O’Connor, Laurel Snyder, Anne Marie Pace, Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw, and Jesse Klausmeier!

Each session will be a bit different, but they will have some common elements too.

    • We’ll greet one another and tell them where we are located.
    • We’ll read aloud across the miles. Sometimes this will be students reading to students. Other times, the adults might take turns reading pages from the same book or select characters to portray. Authors will read from their own books or favorite books and take time to allow kids to ask questions about their writing.
    • To close, students will have a chance to make some connections between the 2 locations. Students often like to find out what the weather is like or what kids like to do for fun in different states. These closing moments build connections between us as a human race.
    • In some cases, we will collaborate with classes on some type of project. For example, we might create a Padlet or a Flipgrid to share written and video responses to the books we read.
    • We also take time to look at a Google map and chart the distance between the two connecting schools. It’s really fun when there’s more than one school or author on the Skype call and you can connect multiple dots on a map to see how our voices are uniting across the miles.

I hope that you will plan your own World Read Aloud Day activities.  There’s a wealth of resources that can be found at

Read Across America and the World!

IMG_0091We can’t just celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday and Read Across America Day in one day at Barrow.

Look at all these readers!

Look at all these readers!

The Trufflemakers, our winning 5th grade team

The Trufflemakers, our winning 5th grade team

Making a game plan

Making a game plan

On Thursday, we kicked things off with our 5th grade battle of the books.  Five teams competed in 3 rounds of competition.  The Trufflemakers and the Fellowship of the Books made it to the final battle.  I didn’t think either of them were going to miss a question.  The scores ended up being so close, but in the end, the Trufflemakers came out on top.  Prana, Gabriel, Sarah, Taylor, and Cassie will now move on to the district competition.  Good luck team!

Today, we held our annual Dr. Seuss Day with more guest readers in classrooms than I can count.  Ever year just when it seems we won’t have enough people, we end up with 2-3 readers in every room!  Many thanks to Kim Ness who took over this project for me and recruited all of our readers.  She was such a huge help in this fun day!  We had parents, community members, Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers, and even UGA athletes read Dr. Seuss books to our students.

I’m even more excited about what we have coming up next week.  March 6th is World Read Aloud Day.

It’s a day to unite our voices around the world, celebrate the joy of reading, and change the world!  Through twitter, facebook, and a Google Doc, I’ve collaborated with authors and libraries around the country to have a skype session every 30 minutes with lots of class is our media center.  Just take a look at our schedule:

8:30 Carney K, Vertus-K Okle Miller
Tampa, Florida
9:00 Boyle – K, Li K Matthew Winner
9:30 Freeman- 4th Laurel Snyder, author
9:45 Hocking – K Jesse Klausmeier, author & Shannon Miller’s Students
10:30 Olin- 4th grade Mary Priske 4th grade
11:00 Yawn – 2nd gradeWright-2nd grade Ann Marie Pace, author
11:30 Selleck-4th 5th Grade
Laura Beals D’Elia
12:00 Stuckey – 1st grade Lisa Waggett
GoForth Elementary League City, TX
12:30 Watson-1st Kathy Schmidt
Gwinnett County
1:00 Ramseyer – 2nd Grade
Brink – 2nd Grade
Jeff McHugh
Arlington Heights, IL
1:30 5th grade Jody Feldman, author


I can’t wait to connect our students with so many students, libraries, and authors around our country.  In many of these experiences, we will do a shared reading.  I will read parts of a book and the skyping guest will read part of the book.  Also in each session we will have time to make connections with our guests.  We’ll find out a bit about where they live, what they like to do, etc.  With each experience, students will broaden their world beyond the walls of our school and beyond Athens.  I can’t wait to see what happens!