March 2nd is always a special day for our school. We have a long tradition of having guest readers for all classrooms in honor of Read Across America and the birthday of Dr. Seuss. The goal is to have two readers for every classroom. This allows more connections to the community, more books to be heard, and also more people in case we have people who are unable to come.
Courtney Tobin is a parent volunteer at our school who organizes my library volunteers. She also creates a Signup Genius for events like this one. She puts 2 slots for every class, and we start sending it out asking for readers. The link is put in my library newsletter, library facebook page, and grade level parent representatives send it out to lists of parents. I invite district leadership including our superintendent, public relations, and board of education members.
As the event nears, we always have empty spaces still left, so we repeat sending out the link and send it to additional places like the UGA Athletic Association. Usually be the day of the event, the list is full and we have people who show up who didn’t even get to sign up.
It takes a whole community to pull off 2 readers in every class.
We gather in the library, and readers check in with Kim Ness, another wonderful parent volunteer. She does this while I’m helping with morning broadcast. Readers select a Seuss book from our library collection and my personal collection and socialize and practice reading. We gather for a group picture and a huge thank you for taking time to celebrate reading with our students.
It’s always fun to race around the school to try to catch a glimpse of the smiling faces in every class and the community readers having such a great time sharing stories.
For the remainder of the day, we continue our Skype connections with other schools around the country. This is a continuation of our World Read Aloud Skypes.
Today, we connected with:
- Shannon Hyman in Glen Allen, VA and her 3rd grade students to read Be a Friend and Mother Bruce. Their teacher was a big UGA fan!
- Lisa Lindeman in Babylon, NY and her 5th grade students to read Snappsy the Alligator
- Terry Freyou in Coppell, TX and her 5th grade students to read Be a Friend
- Sarah Staudt in Mason City, IA to read Mother Bruce
- Donna MacDonald in South Burlington, VT and her 1st grade to read Snappsy the Alligator
- Dana Susko in Santa Barbara, CA and her Prek to read The Day the Crayons Came Home
- Carol Scrimgeour in Essex, VT and her Kindergarten to read Snappsy the Alligator
It is always a magical day connecting on Skype because the kids share a story across the miles and make connections with another school. I love pulling up a map and talking about how technology not only lets us see and talk to people in other places, but it helps us literally connect the dots between our locations and know in real-time how long it would take us to get there. We’ve talked about tolls, traffic accidents, construction zones, megabus, and alternative routes along with our celebration of great stories.
We’ve also encountered technical difficulties. One school had to cancel due to the internet being out in their school, but it was a life lesson that when something doesn’t work, you just carry on. When we connected with Lisa Lindeman, we could not get Skype to connect us. We tried multiple times but communicated in the chat. We finally decided to give Google Hangouts a try. She had never used it, but she was willing to try. It worked like a charm, but more importantly it showed our students and teachers in both states that we weren’t afraid to fail, back up, and try something else. Life isn’t smooth, and things don’t always work out, but we can’t just give up easily when something is frustrating or hard.
Thank you to everyone who read in our classrooms and connected with us. Happy Read Across America Week and Happy Connecting!