The Global Read Aloud

12:12 AM

The Global Read Aloud is fairly new to me, this was my second year participating.  I love that I stumbled across this a few years ago and took the plunge last year, as the tagline says it all: One Book to Connect the World.  Any time we can get our students thinking outside of their personal bubble (5th graders are pretty self-centered....) is a win in my book!

Over 1 million kids participated in GRA this year; it has grown each year from its first year in 2010.  This project is the brainchild of Pernille Ripp, a teacher in Wisconsin, who had the simple idea of choosing a book (or now an author to study, or book based upon age level) that can connect kids and students across the world.  Connections are made by teachers through various platforms, whatever technology they have available to them!

As I mentioned, this year was only my second year participating in the GRS, reading the middle grades book The Wild Robot by Peter Brown.

My students LOVED this story.  They begged me to read each day, and loved seeing the simple grey scale drawings that went with the story (I displayed them on my SmartBoard.)

To introduce the book, our class had a Google Hangout Session with a school in New York.  Each teacher put a few things into a paper bag, and we shared them one by one to get students thinking about the story.

My bag contained foliage (leaves/grass,) a feather, a solar powered robot my son had (from 5Below) and the book wrapped in aluminum foil and plain brown paper. <--Get it?  Wild (brown paper) and Robot (Tinfoil)

The other teacher's bag contained a stuffed bear, a fire starter, and a piece of camouflage fabric.

I love introducing books to students in a fun way like this, as it builds anticipation and gets them thinking about the items included.  As we read, I often hear students saying "Oh, that's why she included....."

Throughout the 6 weeks the GRA occured, we met with our friends in NY a few times.  We asked each other questions about the story, responded to prompts through Padlet, and one time the other teacher and I took turns reading chapters aloud!  This meeting was particularly interesting, as we weren't sure the "voice" each was using for the main character and others in the story, but we were pretty close in each of our interpretations!

My students already convinced me to order the sequel, not out until March 2018....I am not sure yet if I am going to do a read aloud or book raffle for this once it arrives. {affiliate links}


A few of the takeaways I have from doing the GRA this year:

  • Set-up a "regular" time with your connection(s) to meet.  Of course, things always come up, but in the 6 weeks I think we met 4 times.  It would've been nice to try to meet once a week.
  • We used GoogleHangouts which was super easy to navigate and use...I have used Skype before too, but this seemed a little more user friendly.
  • Checkout platforms before having students connect and respond to each other.  My students have 1:1 iPads and this didn't work as well to post on Padlet as it did for the students in NY who had Chromebooks.
  • Amp it up and make it a BIG DEAL. The teacher's enthusiasm when reading or getting ready to read the story is contagious!
  • Look at the resources....this is meant to be a FREE and FUN way for students to connect.  Many teachers created activities to correlate with the books/author studies picked for the year. and posted them through the Edmodo site teachers get added to.  I didn't have time to sift through them all, but found some fun ways to incorporate the story into other curricular areas besides reading (think STEAM and code breaking.)
  • Your students may like the book more than you do; don't be quick to dismiss it....I almost didn't read this story because I "read" it this summer as an audio book.  I don't know if I wasn't focused enough or just thinking abut too much while listening, but I didn't LOVE the story.  My students, however, and their excitement of the story changed my attitude about the may be a staple read aloud now in my classroom, for years to come.

To learn more about participation in the GRA or sign-up for updates and such, head to

Have you ever participated in The Global Read Aloud?  If not, go check it out!  If you have, do you have any tips for teachers who are just trying this amazing experience?


by Sara from Draz's Class

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  1. Wonderful post. I wish they had Global Read Alouds when I was teaching.


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