The Global Read Aloud (GRA) project is a well-loved, often discussed tradition at my school. The brain child of teacher, author and blogger, Pernille Ripp, the GRA was introduced in 2010 and has connected over a million students across 6 continents.
The premise of the GRA is to “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 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” (Ripp).
As the school librarian, I am not facilitating an individual class for the GRA, but I do play an integral role in helping our school successfully participate in this incredible project. My involvement includes the following responsibilities:
- Purchasing the books
- Students and teachers are able to suggest forthcoming titles for the GRA and then a final list is announced mid-summer. I add all of the books to our library collection and connect with teachers to purchase individual copies for their classroom libraries.
- Signing up
- My school’s middle school language arts teacher first introduced the GRA to our school and has been an amazing advocate for the project. With her help, I encourage teachers to sign up and participate.
- Creating a plan
- I meet with our teachers weekly and discuss what is happening in their classrooms; these conversations help me to know how to embed their curriculum into library lessons and provides me with ideas as to how I can best offer support. During the GRA, I encourage teachers to share ideas, ask questions, celebrate successes and ruminate on challenges.
- Technical support
- The beauty of the GRA is that it meets teachers where they’re at. I have helped teachers:
This project reminds me why I adore being a school librarian… I get the pleasure of being involved in so many incredible, life-changing projects. I am invited into classrooms to help facilitate some of the most exciting moments of these students’ lives, and they are thrilled to be sharing them with me. I am able to watch, in awe, as the screen comes to life, filled with twenty smiling faces from the other side of the world… And an instant connection over a shared favorite character or a cry-worthy ending.
Pernille Ripp, you are not only helping us educators “model and promote diversity, cultural understanding, and global awareness,” you are helping us to remember why we do this every day. Why our work might be exhausting, but so incredibly worth it. Thank you.
Ripp, P. (n.d.). Global read aloud. Retrieved May 27, 2016, from https://theglobalreadaloud.com/