A smile around the corner shuffles me to my feet during my morning routine before students enter the building. I get up, greet the student as she crosses the threshold of the classroom. She asks whether I finished watching all the World Read Aloud Day videos from the previous week.
I am not even close as the amount of videos surpassed my expectations as well as all the expectations by my students. She shares with me how she stayed up listening through them last night trying to find out where everyone was from in the world. She laughed trying to impersonate the strange accents from people in other countries. Only if she knew they did the same back about our strange accents too.
At first, all I wanted was my students to celebrate reading because too many of them were not reading at home; it’s every English teacher’s dismay. However, I was not alone as my colleague wanted the passion for reading to ignite in the hearts of our young children and it did.
Each student started talking about the amount of states that should participate and some began sharing with former classmates who moved out of state. Then I tweeted it out and got some Twitter ‘favorites’ and the message spread like wildfire. I spent the weekend sharing the project using Facebook and Twitter asking people to join our class project.
If you ask they will come and come they did.
Each person or teacher invited was asked to have each student to state where they are located, read a portion of their favorite book or an original story/poem, and share why they chose that specific passage via FlipGrid. Some did not follow the directions, but did something even better. Many read the back of the book, leaving us at a cliffhanger, and told us why the book was so special to them. In some instances, I think it was better than reading a portion of the text itself because no one wants to stop reading after getting into a short excerpt.
To add some spice to the World Read Aloud Day celebration, each class was blessed to Skype with a professional author, Keely Hutton, Kerry O’Malley Cerra or Christina Farley. Each author brought a unique perspective on developing characters, their path to becoming a writer, and their numerous failures that got them to where they stand today. Many students gasped at the number of edits or years it took for their first book to become published.
It taught them how fail and persevere. I cannot say enough about the passion and love these three ladies shared with my students. One student finished class sharing, Dr. Cook, I’m inspired to start writing. That moment reminded me why I got into teaching again.
Many across different grade levels in my school alone came to support our cause submitting videos. Our local newspaper did a cover story and a followup on our student-driven event. Each students had purpose and were stoked to know they made local papers all because they were reading.
Literacy is powerful and can move mountains!
@DrBrianCook u should be super proud! Not only did amazing things happen in ur classroom today but a ❤ for reading spread like wild🔥 throughout our building today! It was wonderful to see so many students excited to take part in #WorldReadAloudDay @pmsmakerspace @KDorn1119 pic.twitter.com/kynslRtR5a
— Angela G. Ayres (@AngelaGAyres) February 2, 2018