Choice, Voice and Connectedness: How the Global Read Aloud Can Change Your Teaching (and the World)

We know that all students are searching for the why – the reason for the learning they are engaging in on a daily basis. Yet, as educators, we often find it challenging to articulate “why”, especially during the age of accountability, standardized tests and education legislation. The Global Read Aloud is one way teachers can bridge the gap between addressing standards AND providing students with a clear reason for engaging in reading.

Picture1So what is the Global Read Aloud?

The premise is simple; we pick a book to read aloud to our students during a set 6-week period and, during that time, we try to make as many global connections as possible. Each teacher decides how much time they would like to dedicate and how involved they would like the lesson to be. Some people choose to connect with just one class, while others go for as many as possible. The scope and depth of the project is up to you. While there are commonly used tools such as Skype, Twitter, Padlet or Flipgrid, you choose the ones that will make the most sense for you. Teachers get a community of other educators to do a global project with, hopefully inspiring them to continue these connections through the year.

According to its creator, Pernille Ripp, the yearly event, which takes place starting in early October and runs through mid-November,  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.”

If you are looking for opportunities to provide authentic reasons for reading in your classroom, and you want to increase students’ voices and connections with others, then make a plan to participate in the Global Read Aloud in the fall.

Want to get involved now? You (and your class) can help determine the books for next school year’s GRA. Visit

Jenelle Williams, Ed.S is a literacy consultant for Oakland Schools. 


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