If You Are New to the Global Read Aloud – #GRA16

Every year, the Global Read Aloud grows even bigger.  It is quite astounding honestly.  But with growth also comes more questions, thus this blog post to hopefully help all of the new facilitators that have signed up for this year!

To see basic information, such as chapter breakdowns, start date, and hashtags, please go to this page.

Before the project:

How do I get the books?

Since headquarters is just me and my ideas, there is no way for me to purchase the books for you.  I am sorry.  So please do get the books ordered on your own.  To see this year’s books and order them, please go here. 

Why should I be a part of the Google Group?

I use the Google group to email you any information that you may need, as well as updates on author participation and such.  If you have not received emails from me yet, check in your spam folder.  And if you got this information via your email – wahoo, you are a member of the Google group.  (And no I don’t share your email or information with anyone).

What do we use Edmodo for?

Edmodo is used as a safe space for teachers to connect, ask questions, and share ideas.  Please join your respective Edmodo group to connect with others doing the same book as you and to find people to connect with you.  Edmodo is also used during the GRA by teachers, but that is something they set up between their classes.  To see the teacher groups for Edmodo, go here.

How do I connect using Edmodo?

After you have joined your group and I have approved you (which I do on a daily basis) there are two different ways; you post a connections wanted post in your group, or you respond to one.    If you post a connections wanted post, please make sure people have a way to get in touch with you such as email or Twitter handle.  One you have found the connections, please alert people that you have found them.  Also, please reach out to all people that respond to your post, even if it is to say you have found someone already.

If you respond to a connections wanted post, make sure you describe your classroom and give them a way to contact you.

What should I post in my connections wanted post?

It helps if you do age group, location, experience level, as well as what types of tools you feel comfortable using or would like to use.  That way people can respond with similar dreams.  You can post anything else that you think is helpful as well.

What if I don’t want to use Edmodo?

Then you can look for connections via Twitter using the hashtag #GRA16 or post on our Facebook page as well.

How many connections should I be looking for?

You decide. I like to have one solid connection for each of my classrooms and I like to have our ideas cemented before the project starts, that way I know for sure I am connected with someone.  However, I also like to look at what else is going on during the project, so checking in on the Twitter hashtags, seeing what other people are sharing and such.  Some people like to have several connections ready in case one doesn’t work out.

Should I read the book(s) beforehand?

Up to you.  I like to read them to make sure I am choosing the right book for my students, and I like to think about the discussions/projects/connections we will have.  But there is no rule.

During the Project:

What tools should I use to connect with others?

Again, up to you.  Here is a list of great tools I have used in the past.  You can also decide with your connection(s) to try something completely different.  If you have an idea for a tool to use please share it with others, this is how the project becomes so awesome!  If you are using Kidblog or something that requires others to go to your site to connect with you, then make sure your site is open to the public so others can view it and comment.

Are authors always involved?

No, not always.  Every year since Katherine Applegate chose to get involved, I reach out to the authors’ whose books are chosen and ask if they have time.  Some do and some don’t.  I am incredibly grateful to the authors that take the time to be a part of the project as it enriches the experience tenfold for participants, but I do not pick books based on that criteria alone.  Sometimes incredible books are written by incredible authors that lead very busy lives, and that is okay too.  What matters is that we have the amazing books to read aloud and share.

What technology can we use to connect?

Anything that you have access to.  One of the strengths of the project is that you do not need to use a specific type of technology to be a part of it, in fact, you can even choose to not use technology and use regular mail to connect with someone.  All that matters is that you connect with someone.

To see great ideas of what to do during the project, go here

How do I find someone to connect with?

In the summer, I set up an Edmodo group for all facilitators.  People then post “Connections Wanted” posts on there and find someone to connect with.  For those that choose to not go on Edmodo, I create a Google Doc as well that you can submit information to and then view what other people have submitted for.  You can then reach out to each other and facilitate your connection.

While I do not generally facilitate connections, please contact me if you are having problems finding someone to connect with.  I can usually help.

Where do we share?

Anywhere you want.  We have our Twitter hashtag for sharing, our Facebook page, as well as our wiki, but people find they share best wherever they feel most comfortable.

What should we read when?

Weekly breakdowns will be posted soon. Don’t worry if you get behind (I do every year!).  Just don’t read ahead.

Are there lesson plans?

No, however, many many people share ideas on the Edmodo groups or on Twitter.  I also have a Pinterest page where I try to share as much stuff as I can.

What are things you can do with your students?

The sky is the limit.  I see people use Skype for discussion calls or to guest read aloud.  Many use Padlet to share about.  People use Kidblog or to have students write about the books and then have others comment.  People use Twitter to share projects and also to participate in a slowchat that will happen for some of the books.  People use WriteABout to create writing communities.   To see more about some tech tools, please go here.

How much should we do?

As much or as little as you want.  You can share as much with the world as you feel comfortable doing or as little.  Some choose to simply read the book aloud to their class knowing that they are part of something bigger without connecting with others, others choose to go as big as possible.  Find your comfort zone in this and make it work for you.

Do I have to use technology?

No, you should connect in some ways.  Technology makes that easier but you don’t have to use it if you can’t or do not want to.

Can I make shirts or other things for my students to show we participated?

Please reach out to me first, the name “Global Read Aloud” is trademarked.

After the project:

We finished the book, now what?

Hopefully the connections will continue.  Many, myself included, use the Edmodo groups throughout the year to find others to do  projects with.  I do not shutdown the Edmodo groups, nor do I lock them down.  So please continue to use the space to do projects and share ideas.

Are you reading books for next year?

Yup!  The minute books are selected for the year, I start my search for the next year’s amazing books.  If you want to know more about the process, go here.  If you are an author and want your book considered, please go here.

I hope this was helpful.  If you still have questions, please leave them here or contact me via email or Twitter.  This was very long, I apologize, but I hope it was helpful.

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Edmodo Groups for Global Read Aloud 2016 #GRA16

Every year, I have used Edmodo groups for teachers to share ideas, make connections, and post any random questions they may have pertaining to the book they are doing for the Global Read Aloud.  Edmodo has worked well for many teachers as a way to communicate with others and to find inspiration.  While you do not have to join the Edmodo group to be a part of Global Read Aloud, or use it with your students, many have found it as an easy way to be connected and to connect with others.  If you would rather join the Facebook page, go here 

To Join Edmodo if you do not already have an account:

Follow these three simple steps to create a Teacher Account:

  1. Go to www.edmodo.com.  The “Teachers” button will already be selected by default.
  2. Fill out the registration form and select the “Sign Up” button to complete the sign up process.
  3. Check your e-mail for a confirmation to view the next steps for setting up your Edmodo Account.

To join the Edmodo GRA groups when you have an account, please click the link for the group you need:

Lauren Castillo GRA 2016 on Edmodo

The BFG GRA 2016 on Edmodo

Pax GRA 2016 on Edmodo

Orbiting Jupiter GRA 2016 on Edmodo

All American Boys GRA 2016 on Edmodo

How do I connect using Edmodo?

After you have joined your group and I have approved you (which I do on a daily basis) there are two different ways; you post a connections wanted post in your group, or you respond to one.    If you post a connections wanted post, please make sure people have a way to get in touch with you such as email or Twitter handle.  Once you have found the connections, please alert people that you have found them.  Also, please reach out to all people that respond to your post, even if it is to say you have found someone already.

If you respond to a connections wanted post, make sure you describe your classroom and give them a way to contact you.

What should I post in my connections wanted post?

It helps if you do age group, location, experience level, as well as what types of tools you feel comfortable using or would like to use.  That way people can respond with similar dreams.  You can post anything else that you think is helpful as well.

What if I don’t want to use Edmodo?

Then you can look for connections via Twitter using the hashtag #GRA16 or post on our Facebook page as well.  There is also a Google Doc where you can post and search for a connection.

How many connections should I be looking for?

You decide. I like to have one solid connection for each of my classrooms and I like to have our ideas cemented before the project starts, that way I know for sure I am connected with someone.  However, I also like to look at what else is going on during the project, so checking in on the Twitter hashtags, seeing what other people are sharing and such.  Some people like to have several connections ready in case one doesn’t work out.

And the Winners Are…Global Read Aloud 2016

Surprise…a few days early, but I had to make the decision.  I have been losing sleep over which books to pick to make this the very best experience it can be for all involved.  Every year it seems to get a little harder, every year I get more nervous.  So although voting should not have closed for another day, I think it is time to reveal the chosen books and author for this year’s Global Read Aloud.

So with all that said, please read all of the books that were contenders and finalists because they truly all deserve to be chosen.  They all deserve to be shared.  They all deserve to be read aloud.  As always, I am so thankful for the incredible authors and illustrators that have created these works of art so that we now can connect on a global scale.

This year’s choices for Global Read Aloud 2016 are….

Picture Book Author/Illustrator:

Lauren Castillo

Lauren Castillo has been a true force to reckon with within the world of picture books.  She not only illustrates incredible books, but also writes them as well and spends a lot of time inspiring children to become artists themselves.  Lauren Castillo’s books are sure to start conversations, inspire kindness, and help us create connections.

Week 1:

Product Details

Nana in the City

Week 2:

Product Details

The Troublemaker

Week 3:

The Reader written by Amy Hest and illustrated by Lauren Castillo 

Week 4:

Product Details

Twenty Yawns written by Jane Smiley and illustrated by Lauren Castillo 

Week 5:

Product Details

Yard Sale written by Eve Bunting illustrated by Lauren Castillo

Week 6:

Your choice!  You decide which on of Lauren’s books you would like to end with.

 

Ages 7 and up (or whichever age group you decide)

Roald Dahl’s The BFG

I first read The BFG as a young child and the story remains  one of my favorite childhood books.  Something about the whimsical nature of the story, as well as how curious the main character was, stayed with me and inspired me to wonder more about the world (where there really giants?)  and also to have a little bit of courage when the world seemed scary.  As I reread it with my 7 year old daughter this year, she quickly told me that The BFG was one of the best books she had ever heard.  Strong praise coming from a child that has had many books read aloud to her through the years.  The BFG as a GRA choice is sure to inspire connections as it is widely available around the world.

Ages 9 and up (Or whichever age you choose)

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

I was told by many to read Pax and yet hesitated, not because I didn’t want to but more because I wasn’t sure what to expect from a book with a fox on the cover.  Yet, Sara Pennypacker has been a household favorite due to her amazing Clementine books (which were also contenders for GRA this year and last) and so I finally cracked the book open only to become wonderfully attached to it.   I have seen how 9 year old’s react to it, I have seen how teens react to it, and I have seen how adults react to it.  It is a book that deserves to be read aloud, to be shared, to be discussed and  I have a feeling it will stay with us all for a very long time.

Ages 12 and up (or whichever age group you choose)

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

This book has turned some of my my most hesitant readers into children who share books with others.  Tattered and torn, our copies have traveled between students and staff; through word of mouth its audience has grown, with all coming back to say how much they love the book.  Orbiting Jupiter was my most favorite book read in 2015, I hope you love it as much as I do.

Ages 15 and up (Or whichever age group you choose)

All American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds

This incredible dual perspective story of what happens when a police encounter goes wrong may be hard to read at time but needs to be read, shared, and discussed.  With the state of the world and all of its barriers between human beings, we cannot ever hope to overcome any of them if we do not start to have more hard discussions.  This book is a catalyst for change.

I hope you love the choices.  I know I do.  Happy reading, we kick off October 3rd.

Vote for YA Choice for Global Read Aloud 2016 #GRA16

YA has to be one of my most favorite, and yet hardest, categories to pick contenders for.  There are so many incredible books but not all lend themselves well to be shared in a read aloud format or even in a large group.  Please pick your favorite from the following amazing contenders.

All American Boys by Brendan Kiely and Jason Reynolds

From Amazon:

In this Coretta Scott King Honor Award–winning novel, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galluzzo, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?

There were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

From Amazon:

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
 
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
 
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

From Amazon:

Dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom, Willowdean has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American-beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . .  until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.  

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

Final Vote for Lower Elementary Choice #GRA16

With many votes cast, it is now time to narrow it down to the final choice; which book (and author) shall be at the center for children ages 6 to 8 (or so)?  All four books here deserve the honor, but there can only be one.

The BFG by Roald Dahl

From Amazon:

The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, or any of the other giants—rather than the BFG—she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

From Amazon:

Clementine is having not so good of a week.

  • On Monday she’s sent to the principal’s office for cutting off Margaret’s hair.
  • Tuesday, Margaret’s mother is mad at her.
  • Wednesday, she’s sent to the principal again.
  • Thursday, Margaret stops speaking to her.
  • Friday starts with yucky eggs and gets worse.
  • And by Saturday, even her mother is mad at her.
Okay, fine. Clementine is having a DISASTROUS week.

Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner

From Amazon:

Ranger has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog, but can’t officially pass the test because he’s always getting distracted by squirrels during exercises. One day, he finds a mysterious first aid kit in the garden and is transported to the year 1850, where he meets a young boy named Sam Abbott. Sam’s family is migrating west on the Oregon Trail, and soon after Ranger arrives he helps the boy save his little sister. Ranger thinks his job is done, but the Oregon Trail can be dangerous, and the Abbotts need Ranger’s help more than they realize!

Weekends with Max and His Dad by Linda Urban

From Amazon:

Max and his dad love their weekends together. Weekends mean pancakes, pizza, spy games, dog-walking, school projects, and surprising neighbors! Every weekend presents a small adventure as Max gets to know his dad’s new neighborhood—and learns some new ways of thinking about home.

Cast your vote here – voting closes April 30th.

Final Vote for Upper Elementary Book Choice #GRA16

With many votes cast, it is now time to narrow it down to the final choice; which book (and author) shall be at the center for children ages 8 to 11 (or so)?  All three books here deserve the honor, but there can only be one.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

From Amazon:

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter’s dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather’s house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn’t where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . .

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

From Amazon:

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie’s picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who’s determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.

Eleven by Tom Rogers

From Amazon:

Alex Douglas always wanted to be a hero. But nothing heroic ever happened to Alex. Nothing, that is, until his eleventh birthday. When Alex rescues a stray dog as a birthday gift to himself, he doesn’t think his life can get much better. Radar, his new dog, pretty much feels the same way. But this day has bigger things in store for both of them. 

This is a story about bullies and heroes. About tragedy and hope. About enemies with two legs and friends with four, and pesky little sisters and cranky old men, and an unexpected lesson in kindness delivered with a slice of pizza. This is Eleven: the journey of a boy turning eleven on 9/11.

Cast your vote here – voting closes April 30th.

Final Voting for Middle School Choice #GRA16

With many votes cast, it is now time to narrow it down to the final choice; which book (and author) shall be at the center for children ages 12 to 15 (or so)?  All three books here deserve the honor, but there can only be one.

The finalists are:

Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt

From Amazon:

The two-time Newbery Honor winner Gary D. Schmidt delivers the shattering story of Joseph, a father at thirteen, who has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. After spending time in a juvenile facility, he’s placed with a foster family on a farm in rural Maine. Here Joseph, damaged and withdrawn, meets twelve-year-old Jack, who narrates the account of the troubled, passionate teen who wants to find his baby at any cost. In this riveting novel, two boys discover the true meaning of family and the sacrifices it requires.

 

House Arrest by K.A. Holt

From Amazon:

Timothy is on probation. It’s a strange word—something that happens to other kids, to delinquents, not to kids like him. And yet, he is under house arrest for the next year. He must check in weekly with a probation officer and a therapist, and keep a journal for an entire year. And mostly, he has to stay out of trouble. But when he must take drastic measures to help his struggling family, staying out of trouble proves more difficult than Timothy ever thought it would be. By turns touching and funny, and always original, House Arrest is a middlegrade novel in verse about one boy’s path to redemption as he navigates life with a sick brother, a grieving mother, and one tough probation officer.

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

From Amazon:

After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don’t just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory–even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy’s achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe…and the potential for love and hope right next door.

Cast your vote here – voting closes April 30th.

Introducing Our New Shirts for 2016 #GRA16

I was asked if we could please have a new shirt for the year and happy to oblige.  I am therefore excited to reveal the Global Read Aloud shirt for 2016.  Available in many colors, sizes, and styles, there should be something for everyone.

The year’s design is also available on a totebag or a travel mug.

2016 Global Read Aloud T-Shirt - Pernille Ripp's T-Shirts.clipular

To see all of the designs, as well as the popular Reading Warrior shirt, go to the Spreadshirt Shop here.

 

Final Round of Voting – Picture Book Study #GRA16

The first round had more than 1600 votes cast and I am now thrilled to reveal the top 3 vote-getters.  All of the authors and illustrators nominated are worthy of being the final choice with their impressive creativity and beautiful books.  Voting will run for a week and will then be considered as I determine the final choice.

Congratulations to all 3 author/illustrators that are now finalists for Global Read Aloud 2016!  The 3 finalists are:

 

Oliver Jeffers!

Bio:

Oliver Jeffers makes art.

From figurative painting and installation to illustration and picture-book making, Oliver Jeffers’ work takes many forms. His distinctive paintings have been exhibited in multiple cities, including Lazarides Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery in London, the Brooklyn Museum and Spring Break Fair (Armory Week) in New York, and Gestalten Space in Berlin.

Oliver’s picture books — including The Incredible Book Eating BoyThis Moose Belongs to Me, The Day Crayons Quit  and its sequel The Day The Crayons Came Home ( both #1 NYTimes Bestsellers)  and Once Upon an Alphabet — have been translated into over 30 languages. Working in collaboration with Studio AKA, Oliver’s second book Lost and Found was developed into an animated short film that has received over sixty awards, including a BAFTA for Best Animated Short Film.

Oliver is from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Lauren Castillo!

Lauren Castillo

Bio:

Lauren studied illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art and received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. She has written & illustrated over 14 books for children, including the critically acclaimed Melvin and the Boy, The Reader by Amy Hest,Happy Like Soccer by Maribeth Boelts, Buffalo Music by Tracey Fern and What Happens on Wednesdays by Emily Jenkins. Her most recent book, Nana in the City, was awarded a 2015 Caldecott Honor. She currently draws and dreams in sunny Los Angeles, California.

Mem Fox!

MFF

Bio:

Mem Fox is a retired Associate Professor of Literacy Studies (Flinders University, South Australia), and also Australia’s most highly regarded picture-book author.  Her first publication, Possum Magic, is the best selling children’s book in Australia.  It is thirty years old this year (2013) and is still available in hard-back. She has written many other internationally best-selling books for children including Time for Bed, Where Is The Green Sheep? and Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes, a copy of which was Australia’s official gift to Prince George, the new royal baby. Mem has also written several non-fiction books for adults, including her renowned book for parents:Reading Magic. Her books have been translated into nineteen languages. She has received many civic honours and awards, and three honorary doctorates. She lives in Adelaide, South Australia, but leaps around a bit as an advocate for literacy and literature.

Happy voting!