Wednesday, February 24th was World Read Aloud Day.
According to the WRAD website:
"World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens, and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. World Read Aloud Day is celebrated by millions of people in more than 100 countries thanks to people like you who participate and spread the word across the globe!"
In honor of World Read Aloud Day, many authors volunteer to read aloud to school classes via Skype. Author, Kate Messner, organized a registry for authors who wished to interact with students on that day. Skype in the Classroom, an educational service now sponsored by Microsoft, also offered opportunities to connect with authors. Through the generosity of authors offering their time, we were able to speak with three authors.
We started our morning by assembling the first grade classes in the library in front of the Smart Board. Monica Carnesi, author and illustrator, read aloud her two books to us. Little Dog Lost is the true story of a small dog who somehow wound up floating on a piece of ice rushing down an icy Polish river. Attempts by firefighters to rescue the dog from shore failed. Fortunately, when the dog's ice raft emptied into the Balkan Sea, he was spotted and rescued by the crew of a Polish research ship. Ms. Carnesi read this book first. The first graders loved this true story. Then she read aloud her fiction story, Beatrice and Bear, about a bear and a bunny who are best friends.
Monica Carnesi spoke with students about where she gets her ideas and how she writes her books. The kids were thrilled when her dog wandered into the scene! Ms. Carnesi's final piece of advice for our young writers was "Don't be afraid to rewrite." She held up many copies of drafts of her stories and talked abut how she and her editor worked to revise her words. The kids really enjoyed her visit and the chance to ask her questions.
You can see a picture of the Skype visit and some of the students' thank you notes below.
After lunch, second grade students connected with author, Dan Paley, who read aloud his book, Luigi and the Barefoot Races, from his home in California. This picture book is set on the streets of Philadelphia where Mr. Paley grew up. It has a lot of action and a very surprising ending! Our second graders were enthralled! In a question and answer period following, a student asked the author if he had any favorite books. Mr. Paley held up Finding Winnie and Last Stop on Market Street. This caused a lot of excitement among our second graders because we had just finished a Mock Caldecott Event and they were very familiar with these two award winning books. We also discovered that Luigi and the Barefoot Races was Mr. Paley's first published book, although he has written four more. We loved the first one and we'll be looking forward to reading more from this author!
Our final Skype of the day was with J.C. Phillipps, a Connecticut author and illustrator who has written several wonderful fiction picture books. I had read, Wink, the Ninja Who Wanted to Be Noticed with kindergarten students prior to this Skype visit. Because Mrs. Phillipps creates her illustrations with paper collage, kindergarten students had made collages based on the ninja story we had read. Mrs. Phillipps read another book from her ninja series, Wink, the Ninja Who Wanted to Take a Nap. Following her engaging read aloud, she polled the audience to find out which animal they wished to see her make in collage. "A horse" was the most popular vote, so Mrs. Phillipps got to work. The kids loved her read aloud and collage demonstration. After, they were invited to ask questions. As students approached the screen to ask a question they held up the collage pictures they had created so Mrs. Phillipps could see. It was a terrific conclusion to our World Read Aloud Day.
We are very grateful to the authors who shared their time with us!! Hearing these terrific authors read aloud from their books and being able to interact with these authors made this day special and memorable for our young readers!
Below are pictures of our Skype visit with J.C. Phillips and student thank you notes.
Our kindergarteners have been hard at work building reading and comprehension skills. They have learned the differences between fiction story books and nonfiction informational books. They know where to find each type of book in the HCS library. We have read some wonderful books by some amazing authors and illustrators. Mo Willem's Elephant and Piggy books are among the favorite choices for our emerging readers.
It is fun to see the kindergarteners' creativity emerging. In the fall, we read Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. This author illustrates her books with wonderful collages made of colored paper and fabric scraps, found items of all kinds, and in the case of Leaf Man, real autumn leaves. Of course, we had to try our hand at creating a Leaf Man or Leaf Animal and writing where he might be flying on the wind. Here are some of our students' leaf collages below. Didn't they do a great job?
.Denise Fleming Author Study
Just before the December holiday break, the kindergarten teachers read a number of Denise Fleming's books to their classes including such well known titles as In the Tall, Tall Grass and Where Once There Was a Wood. Denise Fleming's books have simple text and bold and colorful pictures. She makes the pictures for her books with brightly colored paper pulp poured through hand cut stencils. The process is similar to making hand made paper. The kids were fascinated by a video of Denise Fleming creating her illustrations, so we decided to give her paper making process a try ourselves.
Each class had a turn in the room we set up for this project. We set up three stations for students to rotate through. While a small group of students worked at the paper making table, others read Denise Fleming books or colored with stencils. At the paper making station, we started by mixing torn colored paper scraps in a blender with water to make the pulp. We had buckets of green, yellow, blue, white and red pulp. The consistency was similar to oatmeal without being sticky. Every student was given a small piece of window screen framed in cardboard and perched over a tub. After a brief demonstration, the kids got started. They chose their background colors and scooped out small cupfuls of pulp. They poured it onto the window screen and pressed it down to help knit the fibers together. The excess water from the pulp poured into the tub below. Once the background had been laid, students added embellishments on top by pouring new colors of pulp into cookie cutters which acted as molds. Some made free hand pictures with the pulp. The kids were totally absorbed in this fun activity. The illustrations dried over vacation and we returned to find beautiful sheets of hand made paper.