Why the Global Read Aloud Matters

Wednesday started out as a normal day at school.  I walked into the office to check my mailbox when our amazing secretary handed me a mystery package.  I immediately looked at the mailing label and was astounded when I saw this.

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Immediately curios, I ripped open the package and was surprised when I saw this

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The package came from Cathy Kreutter, the librarian at the International School of Uganda, and she was reaching out to me continue the global connectedness started by the Global Read Aloud.   Not only was I shocked, but I was also over the moon excited, because the other thing in the package was this…

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A book, written by Cathy, based on the American Folk Tale “There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” meant to tell readers more about Uganda.  I couldn’t wait to read it to my students!  And what happened next was pure magic.

Not only did I read it my students, who couldn’t believe the things they were learning.  They also wanted to find out more about Uganda and had many questions.  Next, I took the book to our 1st grade buddies and shared it with them.  More questions and learning about Uganda happened.  Then I swung by one of our kindergarten classrooms and shared it with them, with the same result.  Within the span of an hour, 3 classes had learned and become curious about Uganda and Africa as a whole.  All through the power of a book mailed to us because of the Global Read Aloud.

Yet, the power of this book has not ended.  Our incredible librarian plans to share it next week with her classes and so we will see the seeds of curiosity planted in more kids.  More kids will find Uganda ion the globe and know a little about this faraway nation where the Nile starts and lions roar.  More kids will wonder about the world and what another child’s every day life is like.  All through the power of a shared read aloud.

So this year, for the Global Read Aloud, I will encourage people who connect to send a picture book to their partners.  A book that shares a little about them, that will deepen the connection between our homes.  I will secretly hope that some will send one to me as well so my students can see just what this project has started.

Thank you Cathy for reaching out to me.  That small gesture has started a wave of curiosity at our small school.  To purchase your own copy of this book, please go here, I am telling you, the students will love it.

I am a passionate  teacher in Wisconsin, USA,  who has taught 4, 5th, and 7th grade.  Proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, Co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. I have no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in my students’ heads every day.  First book “Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classrooms Back to Our Students” can be purchased now from Powerful Learning Press.   Second book“Empowered Schools, Empowered Students – Creating Connected and Invested Learners” can be pre-ordered from Corwin Press now.  Follow me on Twitter @PernilleRipp.

13 thoughts on “Why the Global Read Aloud Matters

  1. Philip Cummings May 30, 2014 / 4:39 pm

    That’s so cool, Pernille. Thanks for sharing this story.

  2. Katy Kraemer May 31, 2014 / 10:38 pm

    I would love to share this book with my first graders! Where can I get a copy?

    • Cathy Kreutter June 15, 2014 / 7:02 am

      Hi Katy, Thank you for your interest in the Mzee book! It is available on amazon.com. And all profits from the book go towards paying school fees for 30 kids here in Uganda. http://www.oldmzeebook.com. Cathy Kreutter

  3. kidworldcitizen June 1, 2014 / 8:02 am

    This is so cool!!!! Thank you so much for sharing!! :)

  4. Tanya Braybrook June 1, 2014 / 9:07 am

    What a concrete way for kids to see the value of global connections! The world really does become a small place when we all about each other. Thanks for sharing this

  5. lars3eb June 4, 2014 / 11:26 pm

    Just one more reason what you do matters. You have shown us all that it only takes a little time and effort to really reach out and show our students just how small this Earth of ours really is. Thanks for all you do for our community and for the example you have proven to be for each of us. #YouMatter

  6. Wendi Pillars (@wendi322) June 12, 2014 / 8:44 pm

    You’ve done wonders. I love it, and will be trying GRA with an older group of kids this year. Can’t wait. Just bought your book, too, so am looking forward to my summer reading kickoff. Keep up the goodness!!!

  7. Cathy Kreutter June 15, 2014 / 7:21 am

    Thank you Pernille for sharing about the Mzee book. I am thrilled that your students liked it and are learning so much about our little corner of the world, Uganda. Very exciting indeed! The book is available on amazon.com and on the website are ideas for how to use it in classrooms. http://www.oldmzeebook.com.
    All of us at ISU love the idea of the book swap initiative.

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