The Global Read Aloud
by Mrs. Bartlein, Literacy Coach
This fall, several third, fourth and fifth graders participated in an exciting event called the Global Read Aloud. The Global Read Aloud is an initiative started by a teacher in Wisconsin that aims to connect kids across the globe with conversation around shared texts. Erin students read, discussed, and posted about the book The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes. Across the weeks, we read together, discussed how the main character grew and changed, studied the impact of characters on each other, and used technology tools like Twitter, WriteAbout, and Padlet to connect with each other and others across the globe to discuss our thinking. The highlight of our work came a few weeks ago when, out of 200 classrooms that submitted questions about the book to Kevin Henkes, we were one of five that got selected. We were surprised by his response (included below) and it created a great discussion on author’s purpose and life messages. I am excited to participate again next year and hope to expand our participation across more grade levels and with more classrooms across the world.
From Kevin Henkes:
Mrs. Bartlein’s Class from Erin, Wisconsin, USA, asked, “What are you hoping others will learn by
reading The Year of Billy Miller? What’s your message?”
I don’t think about what people will learn from my books. I do hope that people will like my stories,
that they will be entertained. I don’t try to teach anything. I try to write engaging stories with
interesting characters. I try to write good sentences. It’s as simple and difficult as that.
Here's what students have to say:
"I like that in the Global Read Aloud that you get to say how you truly feel or think about the book that you are reading. I hope that in the future Global Read Aloud will become a thing for reading class that all students have to do." -- Amiah B
"The best part of the Global Read Aloud was that you got to post to people all over the world! You can also post to your own group at Erin school! You can also comment on other people’s posts too! What I think we should do more in the future is Skype. That’s a good way to see the other classroom." -- Jack P
"My favorite part of the Global Read Aloud is that we can interact with real people." -- Skyler S.