This summer, my Twitter feed was blowing up with pictures and quotes from a couple of books that sounded really interesting – Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed and Refugee by Alan Gratz. Each post also had the hashtag #GRA18. For me, when the same hashtag or same topic keeps showing up in my Twitter feed, it’s time to do some research. I quickly learned that #GRA18 was the hashtag for the 2018 version of the Global Read Aloud.
I recall hearing something about the Global Read Aloud in the past, but I always thought it was based on picture books and related more to younger students. However this year I noticed that the titles I was seeing were books that I knew our students would be interested in.
Basically, the Global Read Aloud was a project created by Pernille Ripp, a 7th grade teacher and author who lives in Wisconsin. On the Global Read Aloud website, she explains why she started a project like this:
Global collaboration is necessary to show students that they are part of something bigger than them. That the world needs to be protected and that we need to care for all people. You can show them pictures of kids in other countries but why not have them speak to each other? Then the caring can begin.
I’m assuming we have all participated in a book study of some sort or another. You might have read a professional book with some colleagues, you might have a neighborhood reading group, or connect in some other way. What I love about reading a book as part of a group is the opportunity to hear the perspective of people with a wide variety of experiences. Each person’s perspective may allow them to connect to the story in a different way. Through learning about their impressions from the story, we learn about how others may be similar, or different than us. In a recent interview of Matt Miller, he shared that he feels part of the power of global conversations is that “we want our students to understand that though it may seem like we don’t have a lot in common with people across the world, we actually do.”
Hopefully, some of you are interested in participating in this great experience, and you might be wondering how you go about getting started. First, you have to sign up. You can do that at the Global Read Aloud website – you can sign up by clicking here!
Next, you have to choose your book. There are two books that I think would be age appropriate for our students. The first book, Amal Unbound, is the story of a girl named Amal, a typical Pakistani girl pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day. The other book that some of you might consider is Refugee, a story of three children – Josef is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany, Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994, and Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. All three go through amazing journeys in search of refuge from their homeland. Both of these books are available on Amazon, although you can probably find them at any bookstore!
Once you have chosen your novel, you would then decide what level of connection you’d like to have. On the most basic level, you might choose to connect with another class in our school that is participating. If you’d like to connect with classes outside of our school, there are lots of ways you could do that. Searching the hashtag #GRA18 on Twitter will connect you with tons of others who are participating. If you’d prefer, there is also a Facebook connection through The Global Read Aloud Main Group, as well as groups that are specific to each of the books. Here I’ve seen posts of people seeking connections, sharing resources they have created, and communicating about their ideas.
If you are considering participating, and would like a ton of information about the Global Read Aloud, click here.
If you are looking for the schedule for the Global Read Aloud, you can click here.
If you do choose to participate, let me know! I read both of the books, and would love to talk with your students about their thoughts!