The Worth of You (1).jpg

Cross-posted from my blog

Lynda Mullaly Hunt made me cry yesterday.  Right in the middle of a panel session on the community of the Global Read Aloud.  I had held my tears back all throughout as the authors had shared what it means to have their book read and loved by so many children on a global scale.  I had held my tears back as they had talked about the ways that their books had changed the lives of others, how children had found hope, courage, and determination through their pages.  Yet when Lynda told me that the slide showing a globe was for me because I had changed the world. I cried.  And then Lynda cried, and I sat there in awe because I  never set out to make a difference, I simply wanted to read a book aloud to my students and have them share their thoughts.

So I write this post not to gloat in the Global Read Aloud glory.  Nor to say that I am anything special, but more so to tell people that your ideas have worth.  That your ideas may make a difference to someone else.  That those ideas you carry inside need to be spoken because you will never know what type of difference they may make.

And yes, it is scary to speak a dream aloud.  And yes, it is scary to let others in .  And yes, it is scary to be proud of what you have created.  But it is worth it.  Even if your idea changes the course for one other person, or even if just changes yours, it will never change anything if you do not speak out loud.  If you do not share.

I never set out to make a difference, I wish I could say I had.  But it happened, if even just for my own students as they fell in love with a book year after year and wanted to make the world a better place.  Because I dared to speak aloud.  I dared to think that perhaps someone somewhere would see the beauty in this so simple idea.  And so the Global Read Aloud will continue to make a difference for so many kids, for so many teachers, as we gather in this time of terrorism, uncertainty and a world determined to be dark at times.  We need books to connect us because the world seems to be trying to tear us apart at times.  We need books to remind us that we are more alike than different.  We need books and experiences and emotions so that we can remember that we are humans first and that whatever difference we may have can be overcome.

I never set out to change the world, and I am not even sure that I have.  But I had an idea that I dared speak aloud and now cannot imagine a world without it.  Share yours; change the world.


After the Global Read Aloud – A Letter From Me to You #GRA15

Good evening,

I started the Global Read Aloud with a dream, a hope, and a wish to connect my own students to the rest of the world.  I knew that books held a magic that we could use to create connections and I knew that my students needed ways to speak to others, a way to embrace technology and make it more meaningful, a way to bring the world in.  So one summer night, in 2010, the Global Read Aloud was born.  And boy, has it ever grown.

From it’s humble beginnings of less than 200 students all reading The Little Prince to this year’s project where I stopped counting after we hit 500,000 students, this project has become its own magnificent entity.  A “thing” that you do, a tradition that keeps growing and growing.  And so, it is at a point where I feel like I have to share a few things about being the creator of the GRA and what this project looks like from the back.  What it feels to be headquarters, creator, mastermind, email answerer, tweet reader, and every single person approver, or any other role that this project requires.  It is time I set a few things straight.

To all of you who have loved this project and made it your own.  Who have championed it, shared it, made it better than what it was; thank you.  Thank you from the bottom of me.  Thank you for seeing its beauty and taking the time to believe in it.

To the authors who have given their time, who have given up writing time, who have connected, who have recorded, who have been involved.  You have taken this project to a whole new level.  You have made it magical.

But to those of you who keep sharing all of the things that are wrong with the project, how it would only be better if this, first of all, I am sorry that it cannot live up to what you had dreamed.  Secondly, I am one person.  I am someone who has 4 children under the age of 6, who teaches full-time, who writes, and speaks, and reads so many books to keep this thing going.  Who needs to sleep and even sometimes not work.

I get your frustration at missed connections.  I get when an author is not involved enough.  When a book doesn’t fit perfectly.  When the project is ending and you have just found out about it and there is no other project this year.  I get when it falls over a break, or when the tool you use is not working.  I get that you get frustrated when I cannot buy the books for you, I am a teacher, I buy the books myself too.  I get it.  But I cannot fix it.  I cannot make this better.  I am one person, someone who is trying so hard to make this project the best project for those who choose to do it.

The Global Read Aloud is a beautiful thing if you make it beautiful.  The power of it lies in its simplicity; you make it into what you need.  There will never be lesson plans to follow.  There will never be everything that someone could want.  I will never be able to do all of the things that some wish I would.  That is not the spirit of the project, that is not my desire. This project remains at its core a way to connect students, and sometimes that involves figuring things out that we are not completely sure of how to do.

So as I look back at this year, it’s sixth, one thing is for sure; it was big!  And I am not sure it is meant to be.  I am not sure that we are meant to have as many places to connect, as many books to choose from.  I feel like the project is turning into something that is not about the connections but more about the size, and that was never my intention.  So for the next few months, I am going to be doing a lot of thinking.  I would love your thoughts as well, but please, only the positive ones, I think I have filled my quota for the year on the negative.

I don’t know how the Global Read Aloud will look next year.  I don’t know if there will be a next year.  There are so many incredible things, but for now it is time to scrutinize and decide; where will it go?  What will it look like?  How do we keep it about the books and the connecting, rather than the frustrations?  My ears are open, my heart is heavy, and yet, thankful for all of you who have loved it.  You are what make me do it year after year, you are what makes all of this worth it.


Skype Heads Up – A Great Idea for the Global Read Aloud #GRA15

Although the GRA officially ends today, I still loved this idea so much that I asked Steve Auslander, 5th grade teacher extraordinaire from  Allisonville Elementary in Indianapolis, IN to write a post about it hoping that you can still use this idea with others.  I got to play this game and it was a highlight for me!

Are you looking for an engaging activity to do with another class to celebrate the end of the Global Read Aloud?  Give Skype Heads Up a shot!  You may have heard of Heads Up.  It’s a fun app, similar to charades.  The object of the game is to guess the word on the card that’s on your head from your friends’ clues before the timer runs out! Heads Up also contains an option for a ninety-nine cent in-app purchase to create your own deck.  I created my own deck with Fish in a Tree words like,”Ally”, “dyslexia”, “friendship bracelets”, etc..

The next step is to connect with another class over Skype.  Then, have a player in one location blindfolded or close his or her eyes.  Then sit that student near the computer with a device facing the camera.  Have about six or so students on the other side of the camera give clues and see how many words the player can name correctly.  Then, switch.  Each game takes about sixty seconds, so it wouldn’t take many rotations for every child to have a chance to play.  It’s so much fun and can be played to review any common text or skill.  

This has been an extremely memorable week for the students in my class.  We tested this game out with the inspiring Pernille Ripp, creator of the Global Read Aloud, on Wednesday and the amazing Lynda Mullaly-Hunt, author of Fish in a Tree, the next day!  Please let me know if you have any questions about this idea.  The best way to reach me is via Twitter (@sauslander).   So go ahead and celebrate Global Read Aloud 2015 by playing Skype Heads Up!  

Here’s a video of our Skype with Lynda: 


Ask Meg Medina – A Final Google Hangout Event #GRA15 #GRAYaqui

We are so fortunate that Meg Medina has agreed to do a Google Hangout with us all on November 16th at 11 AM CST.  Tune in as we discuss all things Yaqui Delgado and the Global Read Aloud.

I will add the link in here on Friday for people to view.

However, I need your help.  What questions do you have for Meg?  What would you like to know?  Please submit your questions on this form and then tune in to see if they get answered.

Join Us For the Final Google Hangout With Lynda Mullaly Hunt #GRA15 #GRAFIAT

I cannot believe that the GRA is coming to a close for the year.  What an amazing event it has been.  Lynda Mullaly Hunt, the author of Fish In A Tree, has graciously agreed to do a culminating Google Hangout with us Wednesday, November 18th at 8:45 AM CST.   Fear not, the whole thing will be videotaped and accessible once it is over.

View it here or on the link here

However, I need your help.  What questions do you have for Lynda?  What would you like to know?  Please submit your questions on this form and then tune in to see if they get answered.

Don’t forget that Lynda has been so busy making videos for us, please see all of her videos on her blog.

Glow Ball Read Dahl Loud November 13th #GRA15


I can’t believe the last week of the Global Read Aloud is upon us.  What an incredible adventure it has been yet again.  When Amy Krouse Rosenthal and I spoke this summer, she asked if she could help dream up events for you and as anyone would probably do, I enthusiastically replied, “Yes!”

Therefore, for us to celebrate the final day of the Global Read Aloud, November 13th, I invite you to participate in the Glow Ball Read Dahl Loud!

How do you participate?

GLOW = if possible, get some colorful glow sticks

BALL = get dressed up like you’re going to a fancy ball

READ = you know how to do that!

DAHL = find your favorite Roald Dahl poem

LOUD = now read it as LOUD as you can!!

So join us on November 13th as we culminate our read aloud with a massive celebration of the beauty of reading aloud.

P.S: When you say “Glow Ball Read Dahl Loud” out loud, what does it sound like?  🙂

P.P.S: You can listen to Amy’s favorite rendition of the song Pure Imagination here.

Answers to Our KNOWvember Quiz About Amy Krouse Rosenthal #GRA15 #GRAAmy

We hope you had fun with the quiz!  Here are all of the answers…

Here are all of the questions again

1) Where does Amy live?
a. Chicago
b. New York
c. The moon

2) Amy’s dog’s name is:
a. Cougar
b. Plankton
c. She doesn’t have a dog

3) What is Amy’s favorite snack?
a. Sunflower seeds
b. Potato chips
c. Split pea soup

4) What’s her favorite place to write?
a. On airplanes
b. At her desk
c. At coffeehouses
d. All of the above

5) Does Amy have any kids?
a. Yes, 2
b. Nope
c. Yes, 3

6) What is Amy’s secret talent?
a. She can do a double back flip off the diving board
b. She can name all 50 states in alphabetical order in 17 seconds
c. She can guess your birthday with 90% accuracy

7) Where does she get her ideas?
a. From simply keeping her eyes/ears/mind open, noticing things, and thinking a lot
b. From the idea store of course

8) Why does she write?
a. Because she loves words
b. Because she loves making things
c. Because she can’t not write
d. All of the above

9) What does Amy have in common with Albert Einstein?
a. They have the same IQ
b. They both stick their tongues out in photos
c. Neither of them like wearing socks

BONUS: What are Amy’s two favorite colors?

1) Chicago
2) Cougar
3) Potato chips
4) All of the above
5) Yes, 3
6) She can name all 50 states in alphabetical order in 17 seconds
7) From simply keeping her eyes/ears/mind open, noticing things, and thinking a lot
8) All of the above
9) Neither of them like wearing socks

Win Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s New Book #GRA15

Here at the Global Read Aloud we are celebrating the November 17th release of Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s new book Awake Beautiful Child by giving away 5 copies of her book!  To enter the contest, simply tell us what difference being a part of the Global Read Aloud has done for you and/or your students.  Winners will be notified after November 7th.

Publishers Weekly Starred Review says:

Rosenthal (I Wish You More) again demonstrates her ability to use wordplay to create stories with real emotional depth as she follows children through a day, described only in three-word, A-B-C phrases. It “All Begins Cheerily” with a boy waking up, followed by an afternoon of exploration (“Ants, Butterflies, Caterpillars”) and rowdy superhero play (“Attention! Be Careful!” says his harried mother). Later, a girl and her mother explore an “Active Bustling City,” and another child asks her father for a bedtime story reread: “ ‘Again!’ (Begs Convincingly).” Illustrator Lam’s debut couldn’t be more polished and confident: her palette seems to shift with the day’s waxing and waning light, while her crisp, screenprintlike images have an understated poise and precision that highlights the quiet magic of everyday moments. Ages 3–up. Author’s agent: Amy Rennert, Amy Rennert Agency. (Nov.)

To order the book, please go here, and to receive 20% off (!!) use coupon code #GRA15