I have organized, planned and executed 12 Read Across America Days at my school. It’s always the most exhausting but rewarding day (and only 5 more to do before I retire-but who’s counting?). Lots of walking (to and fro from the office, to classrooms to take photos); excited members of the community coming to read; random parents and volunteer readers showing up unannounced,etc.
Additional Student Involvement: Including Student Readers
This year we involved our students more in RAAD. I asked some of the 4th grade students who had recently read to fellow students and staff for World Read Aloud Day if they would be interested in reading to Kindergarten and 1st grade classes. I tried to match up a couple with younger siblings’ classrooms. I gave them some choices on book titles and we went over how to read aloud to a group.
I will definitely keep this student involvement for next year’s RAAD, but I will spend more time training them and have them practice with me. They enjoyed reading to the classes and I think it helped build their self-confidence.
Further Student Involvement: Official Escorts
At the suggestion of our International Baccalaureate: PYP Coordinator, we added student escorts. These members of our school’s United Nations Club took the readers to their classroom, guided them to a second classroom if necessary, and escorted them to the front office to sign out of the building. The students basked in this responsibility and it gave the readers (mostly community members) a chance to further interact with our students. I will definitely continue this next year as well.
Read Across the World Day: A New Experience
One of our kindergarten teachers came to me a week or so ago with an idea proposed by a parent of one of her students. The father of the student is in the Army currently stationed in Kuwait. The mom thought maybe we could Skype and have the dad read a book to the class. After discussions back and forth, the mom came up with the idea of dad recording himself reading. She uploaded the video to YouTube and sent me the link so that I could project it on the big screen in the library. She arranged to come to school and the class came to the library for a “special reader” who was going to share a story.
I had the teacher sitting in a chair with the book as dad (and 3 fellow Army members) read the book from his phone. It took the student a couple of seconds to realize what was going on and then he said, “That’s my dad!”. The teacher turned the pages while the soldiers read the book and the students were very engaged. As the class was leaving the boy asked his mom if he could call his dad!
The soldiers did a very energetic reading and singing!