From the Office of the Future of Reading

Please give a warm welcome to today’s guest blogger, Pernille Ripp. Pernille is a passionate fifth grade teacher in Wisconsin, USA, proud techy geek, and mass consumer of incredible books. Creator of the Global Read Aloud Project, co-founder of EdCamp MadWI, and believer in all children. Pernille has no awards or accolades except for the lightbulbs that go off in her students’ heads every day. Her first book Passionate Learners – Giving Our Classroom Back to Our Students Starting Today will be released this fall from PLPress. You can follow Pernille on Twitter.

Pernille Ripp

 I Owe it to the Authors

There are moments as a reader where you put the book down, look around, and hope that someone else is sharing that same experience.  Whether at home, in a classroom, on a bus, or anywhere else reading may take place, some books propel us toward that moment of hoped-for connectedness. You may look over the pages and see someone else sharing the story you are reading and give them a knowing look, or perhaps a smile, or not; regardless, you definitely experience a sense of not being alone in your love for a book.  To have a moment so intimate with a stranger, and knowing that just because others get it, this world is going to be all right after all.  Those books that give us those moments are the reason I created the Global Read Aloud.

I didn’t mean to create a global collaboration.  I didn’t mean to connect more than 140,000 students in a 6 week period of time.  I meant to share the love of a book with as many children as possible.  I meant to find other kids for my students to connect with so they could have that experience in which they recognize that someone else is reading what they are reading at that very moment in time.  Because that moment is when we let our guard down.  When we let the strangers in, when we allow others through our armour, that creates a way to start a conversation.  Books do that to us.  So reading aloud the same book to students around the world allows us to start a global conversation.  One that starts in a safe place for all of these children, one that can lead to deeper connections, more empathy, and definitely more book love shared.  

And yet, I am just one person.  A dreamer for sure, but I am not the one that creates the books that we share.  These authors that pour every inch of themselves into the stories they give to the world, they are the true creators of the Global Read Aloud.  They are the ones that should get the applause when we talk about a truly global project.  These authors, those who ponder every word, every nuance of their story and hope that we readers will love their books as much as they do, they are the ones who are making the world smaller. 

I owe the success of this project to all of the authors that have written stories that children cannot wait to put down.  That have given us Ivan, the Little Prince, Tuck, Melody, Marty or even a Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Were it not for these stories we could not make the world smaller, one book at a time.  Were it not for these authors, my students would not understand that they are just like other students around the world.  Thank you.

Thank you Pernille for sharing such a heart-felt dedication to books, and how they can build strong global connections. And thank you for your efforts to build such an amazing project as the Global Read Aloud!