Welcome Water for South Sudan to Global Read Aloud Gives Back #GRA17

I am so excited to give more details on the charity that I have chosen as this year’s partner for Global Read Aloud.  Much like last year, this is a voluntary part of the GRA, where you can choose to raise money for this charity if you would like as part of your experience.

To learn more about WFSS, please read this:

Water for South Sudan was founded in 2003 by former “Lost Boy” of Sudan, Salva Dut in Rochester, NY.  WFSS has been drilling wells in South Sudan since 2005 and has drilled 304 wells as of May, 2017. We have an Operations Center in Wau, South Sudan, managed by our local team. Our Country Directors are also former “Lost Boys” of Sudan, and, like Salva, are dual US-South Sudanese citizens. Our local leadership in South Sudan supports our mission and enables our success in the country.

WFSS currently has four teams in South Sudan – a drilling team, a well rehabilitation team and two hygiene education teams, and owns all of our own drilling equipment and vehicles.WFSS drills new wells in remote rural villages and involves local villagers at every step. WFSS

WFSS drills new wells in remote rural villages and involves local villagers at every step. WFSS aims for sustainability in all we do and empowers local leaders to take ownership of the well and establish local management of the well. We train villagers to maintain the wells, leave spare parts for simple repairs and connect them to supply chains (usually county governments and UNICEF) for larger repairs.

Our new well rehabilitation team, started in 2017, goes back to our older wells to repair cement platforms that have eroded over time. New well platform design and stronger concrete are now leading to longer life and greater sustainability for all of our wells.
Each village that we visit to drill or repair a well also receives hygiene training. Our hygiene education consists of training eight men in each village (four men and four women) to identify hygiene practices in need of improvement. Trainers are educated and can then train others, helping to expand the impact of clean water.

You can learn more at http://www.waterforsouthsudan.org, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Upcoming Events:

Livestream Conversation with Salva & Linda Sue ParkWed, Oct. 11, 10:30 am EST. Sign up with link to livestream will be on our Upcoming Events page soon.
2017-18 Iron Giraffe Challenge – WFSS challenges schools to each raise $1,000 by March 30 to be entered into a drawing to win a visit from Salva Dut. Other prizes include Skype calls with Salva, Linda Sue Park and our Country Directors in South Sudan.
Well sponsorship information for schools can be found here.
Welcome Water for South Sudan!

GRA17 Welcomes Back Write About!


Connecting your readers with authentic writing opportunities is an important part of the Global Read Aloud experience. I’m thrilled to announce that Write About is generously returning to sponsor student writing for each of your classrooms!

Why: Engaged students write MORE…about the books and beyond!

What: A GRA Classroom upgrade coupon for unlimited writing on the NEW Write About ($49.95)!


  1. Register for an account or Sign In on Write About
  2. Complete the GRA Upgrade form to access the coupon code and instructions for completing the upgrade. (for both new AND returning users)
  3. Get your class writing! Start in September for daily writing and use the GRA on Write About Guide to make the most out of the GRA communities during the project.

Thousands of veteran GRA classrooms have used Write About because:

  • Wonderful writing Ideas are included that go along with the books -OR- teachers create their own to spark a range of literature responses
  • Students can publish, read and comment within your own Class -AND- safely connect with other students.

If you haven’t signed in to the NEW Write About yet, I think you are going to be blown away. It is SUPER easy for teachers to set up and really engaging for student writers!

Having a single directory to find Classrooms Who Write and simply being able to click a FOLLOW button to connect your students for GRA is really a game changer.

PS: If your class will benefit (or has in the past) from free Write About access through the partnership and you’d like to support them…. Please share 1 social media post next month by clicking the Writing…Relaunched campaign to get the word out.


Win a Signed Copy of A Long Walk to Water #GRA17

While it is never expected, it is always exciting to me when the authors of the selected books ask how they can be a part of the Global Read Aloud.  This year is doubly exciting, as both Linda Sue Park and Victoria Coe are coming up with wonderful ways that they can connect with all of you (in manageable ways, of course, as we have about two million students signed up this year).

Last year marked the first time, that the Global Read Aloud partnered with a chosen non-profit to direct some GRA good will their way.  Lasy year’s partner, Palms and Souls, ended up receiving more than $8,000 in books to build a community center library for more than 60 kids in Guatemala, it was incredible to see the kids and their smiles as all of their new books were revealed to them.  When choosing a non-profit I wanted to make it meaningful, I wanted any help they received to truly make a huge difference, and I wanted the nonprofit to share a similar story of the GRA; someone saw a problem and decided to do something about it.   And so I am proud to announce that this year’s partner is Water for South Sudan, the nonprofit started by Salva Dut, the man whose story is told in A Long Walk for Water.

While more details will be forthcoming, we are celebrating this partnership with the author of the book, the incredible Linda Sue Park.  She has graciously donated, along with her publisher, twenty-five signed copies of A Long Walk to Water for me to give away.  This contest is open to the world, all you have to do to enter is to leave a comment below.  I will pull twenty-five random winners on the 19th of August and then notify the winners.

So good luck, happy reading, and may this year’s Global Read Aloud once again make a difference to you and to others.


Share Your Resources Here for Global Read Aloud 2017 #GRA17

One of the things I love the must about the GRA is how educators from around the world come together to share the resources they create.  Whether hyper doc, postcard exchange, or slow chat questions, GRA participants know how to share.

However, even with all of the wonderful things being shared, I know many others are missing out on the resources.  So I created a Google spreadsheet, each book has its own tab, where people can add any resources they would like shared.  Please feel free to add to it any free resources you have found or created to it.  Hopefully, this will help us all as we prepare for the project to start October 2nd.  I, for one, cannot wait.

To see the spreadsheet and add to it, please go here.

Slowchat Information for Global Read Aloud 2017 #GRA17

I am always so grateful for all of the fantastic people who step up and help out with all things GRA.  SO thank you to the awesome Beverly Ladd for spearheading the slowchats this year.

You may be wondering what a slowchat is.  Well, it is a Twitter chat meant to last a week.  That means that a class will host the chat for a week and send out questions using a specific hashtag, often posting a new question every day, and then moderating the chat for an entire week.  Why do we love slowchats?  Because we don’t have to worry about having all of our students on Twitter at the same time, it allows for all time zones to participate, as well as for great conversations to unfold at a slower pace.

If you want to be a host, please:

  • Sign up on the Google sheet for the book you are reading.
  • You can choose to co-host with another class if you would like.
  • Please do not sign up for more than one week so that others can have the chance to host as well.
  • Remember your week and then have students prepare questions.
  • You or your class must have a Twitter account to host, but you do not need to have experience with this, have fun, make it your own and make it work for everybody.

If you want to participate:

  • You or your class must have a Twitter account to participate.
  • See the lists of hashtags so you know which one to use.
  • During the week, answer the questions, ask your own and connect.
  • You don’t have to sign up anywhere, just participate when you want.

Where are the sign-up sheets?

That can be found right here.

What will the hashtags be?

The hashtags will be the official hashtags followed by the number of the week, so for example for Wild Robot it would be #GRAWild1, #GRAWild2

The official hashtags are:

Mem Fox #GRAMem

Fenway and Hattie #GRAFenway

The Wild Robot #GRAWild

Long Walk to Water #GRAWater

A Monster Calls #GRAMonster

Any more questions?

Comment here or contact me

Reading Breakdown For #GRA17

As the beginning of the Global Read Aloud 2017 nears, it is time to reveal when to read what.  Thank you for those who helped me break down the books!  Remember; it is okay to fall behind schedule – I do every year – just don’t read ahead.  Also, some schools due to holidays or all year schedules are choosing to start a little later – no big deal – please make it work for you!

The project starts October 2nd and runs until November 10th, 2017.

Fenway and Hattie

Week 1 – Chapters 1-3 (26 pages)
Week 2 – Chapters 4-6 (24 pages)
Week 3 – Chapters 7-9 ( 27 pages)
Week 4 – Chapters 10-12 (23 pages)
Week 5 – Chapters 13-16 (31 pages)
Week 6 – Chapters 17-20 (25 pages)

The Wild Robot

Week 1 – Chapters 1-19

Week 2 – Chapters 20-31

Week 3 – Chapters 32-44

Week 4 – Chapters 45-55

Week 5 – Chapters 56-68

Week 6 – Chapters 69-80

A Long Walk to Water

Week 1 – Chapters 1-3

Week 2 – Chapters 4-6

Week 3 – Chapters 7-9

Week 4 – Chapters 10-12

Week 5 – Chapters 13-15

Week 6 – Chapters 16-18

A Monster Calls – Illustrated or non-illustrated version

Week 1 – Through the chapter called “Three Stories”

Week 2 – Through the chapter called “Understanding”

Week 3 – Through the chapter called “Americans Don’t Get Much Holiday”

Week 4 – Through the chapter called “Could It Be?”

Week 5 – Through the chapter called “100 Years”

Week 6 – Through the end

Mem Fox Picture Books

Week one:

Week two:
 Week four:
Week five:

Mem Fox’s Books Selected for Global Read ALoud 2017 #GRA17

Picture Book Author

Australian author Mem Fox has been a contender for a few years, so I am thrilled to have her be the chosen focus of our picture book study. With her enthralling storytelling, her many books focused on the ordinary and not so ordinary, and the perspective she brings her impact on the Global Read Aloud community promises to be profound.

Week one:

Week two:
 Week four:
Week five:

Which Mem Fox Books Shall We Read? #GRA17

Mem Fox has quite a wonderful collection of picture books and so it is no small task determining which books shall be the ones we read together.  We do run into different distribution challenges depending on which country you are joining in from.  I am trying to work around it as much as I can.  So please take a moment to vote for your top 6 here.

Edmodo Groups for Global Read Aloud #GRA17

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:

Mem Fox 

Fenway and Hattie

The Wild Robot

A Long Walk to Water

A Monster Calls

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 #GRA17 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.

And the Winners Are….Global Read Aloud Choices 2017 #GRA17

I have been losing sleep weighing all of the incredible choices that have been submitted and proposed for this year’s Global Read Aloud.  Many conversations have been had, books have been test read aloud, and while a few are the books chosen by the most votes, some are not.

Picking our books for the Global Read Aloud is never easy, in fact, I think it gets harder every year since we try to match the incredible experience from the year before.  Every year so far, we have been able to do so., and I hope this year is no different.

With an emphasis on perspective this year, I feel that all of the books and picture book author chosen will help us see the world in a new light.  Will help us make connections.  Will help us build community both within our own classrooms, but also with all the thousands of classrooms that will participate.  As usual, I hope you like them, I hope you read them, and I hope you read all of the amazing contenders as well.  Deep breath here.

The chosen are…

Picture Book Author

Australian author Mem Fox has been a contender for a few years, so I am thrilled to have her be the chosen focus of our picture book study. With her enthralling storytelling, her many books focused on the ordinary and not so ordinary, and the perspective she brings her impact on the Global Read Aloud community promises to be profound.

Week one:

Week two:
 Week four:
Week five:

Early Readers

 I first fell in love with Fenway and Hattie after meeting the author, Victoria Coe, at ILA.  Her enthusiasm for Fenway and his perspective as a dog made me read this book the very next day.  Fenway and the story of how he sees the world is one that is bound to make us laugh but also see our world in a different view; what can happen when we simply change our perspective?

Upper Elementary/Middle Grade

 Every year this age group gets the most votes and every year this feels like one of the hardest decisions.  One book kept coming back to me night after night; the story of Roz and the perspective she brings to community, empathy, and the acceptance of others.  I hope that The Wild Robot by Peter Brown helps up all see the world for how similar we all are, rather than our differences.

Middle School

Again, a popular voting category and one that I hold dear to my own reading experience as this is typically the book I read aloud.  With a fear of others, of refugees, of anyone that does not look like us, supposedly does not think like us, I wanted to read a book aloud that will allow deep conversations, connections, and a collaboration between different subject areas.  While this A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park is not new, it is still incredibly relevant for the perspective it brings to us as we uncover the story of Salva and the Lost Boys of Sudan.

Young Adult

I have read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness aloud with a small class this year and have been blown away by their conversations.  This book, which has been made into a movie as well, is sure to make kids think, make them share, and also make them reflect on how they treat others.
So there you have it.  I hope you like them, I do, a lot.  This year’s project kicks off October 2nd, you can sign up right here on the website, and remember; the age designations are not set in stone – read the books and select the one you think will work best for your students.