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.