I started the Global Read Aloud in 2010 not knowing what it would become, not knowing how it would truly make the world smaller, connect many children and change my own life. I started it with a simple need in mind; more global collaboration and connections for the students I was teaching. I knew that the power of a great read aloud could not be disputed, I knew what a read aloud could do to to foster community. I knew what the right read aloud would do for us as readers, as thinkers, as human beings. And so I started a small project that since 2010 has taken on a life of its own.
This Monday we kicked off the 7th annual Global Read Aloud. It was the day that I gave up on my Twitter account pretty much. There simply was no way for me to keep up. With more than 937,000 students participating this year, give or take a few, I do believe we may be one of the largest, if not the largest, globally collaborative multi-day student project in the world. I cannot help but stand in awe of the number. Stand in awe of this little idea that grew into something more than I could imagine. But not just for the sheer number of children involved, but more for the lives that it is changing. For the experiences it is creating. I stand in awe of the invisible lines stretching around the globe as students connect, discuss, and share who they are with others who happen to be reading the same book as them. Imagine a world that is truly becoming more connected and you have the vision of what the Global Read Aloud is doing for the world. And my project is not alone. Other dreamers and thinkers are seeing the need for projects to unify children around the world, for better learning opportunities that include bringing the world in and the students out. We can certainly create our own, I do all of the time for the sake of my students, or we can join in on these pre-existing projects to make the world smaller. To make the world kinder. To make the world more empathetic.
Global collaboration and the way it shapes student learning experiences should not be something we just do once in a while, it should be often, it should be meaningful. It should be something our students come to expect not as something new and flashy but as something necessary for them to discover who they are as learners. Our students have a voice, they have a need to learn about others, they have the right to not just experience our differences but to know what makes us all so similar. Global collaboration provides us with our starting point, these projects become our starting point as we try to bring the world in.
To see the global projects I know of and that others have graciously shared, please access this padlet. If you know of others that should be on here, please add them. At least this is a start for what is out there.