Jonathan Valley Elementary participates in Global Read Aloud

By Carrie Sutton | Oct 19, 2016
Jonathan Valley Elementary School students in Mary Faulk's first grade class discuss the most recent book they read with students in an Ontario, Canada class. The project is part of Global Read Aloud, an annual program that connects students across the world using books.

Jonathan Valley Elementary School students in Mary Faulk’s first grade class excitedly sat around the SMART board as she pulled up Skype.

A few clicks later, Faulk’s students were talking with children in a classroom hundreds of miles away in Ontario, Canada, about a book they all read.

Faulk’s class is participating in Global Read Aloud, a project where teachers around the world read the same book aloud to their students and then use technology to share the reading experience with other classrooms.

The free six-week program began Oct. 3. During Global Read Aloud, Faulk is teaching an author study on Lauren Castillo. She reads one of Castillo’s books to her class each week. Afterwards, her first graders discuss their thoughts and feelings on the book with their Canadian peers.

Kindergarten, fist grade and fifth grade are participating in Global Read Aloud at Jonathan Valley Elementary. While the kindergarten and first grade classrooms read Castillo’s picture books, fifth grade is reading “Pax” by Sara Pennypacker.

This year, more than 600,000 students from all across the world are participating in Global Read Aloud.

“I heard about The Global Read Aloud Project last year after it had already taken place, so I wanted to make sure I didn't miss it this year because it sounded like a lot of fun,” Faulk said. “We just finished the first week of this six-week project, and it has been the best thing I have ever done in the classroom.”

Faulk said her students are engaged and enthusiastic because of the excitement of connecting with students in a different country.

Her students said they liked asking and answering questions with another class in a different country.

During their Skype call, students discussed their thoughts on the book and asked questions about what their Canadian peers like to do in their spare time. Students have been surprised at how much they have in common with their new friends.

“This project is so important for kids of Haywood County because they see that the world is bigger than they are,” Faulk said. “They make connections with strangers based on something in common — a good book.”

Faulk has noticed changes in her students since they began the Global Read Aloud.

“The students want be involved,” Faulk said. “They want to participate, read, and connect.”

Since the Global Read Aloud’s inception in 2010, more than 1 million students from more than 60 different countries have participated.