The Global Read Aloud: Making Connections Beyond the Classroom Walls

Students need to be part of experiences that are bigger than themselves. Having conversations centered in understanding, acceptance and empathy with others can be a great way to make connections outside of the classroom. Participating in the Global Read Aloud is a way for students to have these experiences while interacting with high-quality literature.

There are so many flexible options for participating, making the Global Read Aloud an ideal curriculum supplement to enhance student learning. The project runs for six weeks, beginning on October 4th, but you can choose how much time you invest. These three steps can help ensure that you and your students are prepared and ready for the kick-off of this enriching project:

Step 1: Obtain the books

Each year the founder of the Global Read Aloud, Pernille Ripp, selects books for the project. Below are links to the selections for 2021. You can decide which books would be best suited for your class.

Where can you get the books? Consider checking your school or local library. Send an email to other teachers in your building to see if they have them or search for online read alouds. Let your administrator know you are interested in your students participating in this project and see if funds are available. makes it easy to order by having all of the selections in one convenient location and offers discounts!

Step 2: Find a connection

What is more powerful than meeting and learning along with other students across the globe? Social media makes it easy for teachers to find other educators who are also interested in participating. The picture book study has a dedicated Global Read Aloud Picture Book Study Facebook group, #GRADuncan hashtag on Twitter and a Duncan Tonatiuh Connections Wanted spreadsheet. #GRA21 is the hashtag for the overall project, so you can use it to make connections for the other read aloud options. Simply browse posts to find others’ looking for a connection or make a request yourself. The more information you give about your grade level, how you would like to connect, etc., the easier it will be to establish connections.

There are ways to find support with this project. Often, new teachers to the project will indicate that in their social media posts. Seasoned Global Read Aloud participants can partner with those teachers to take the lead and help get it started. Resources in your corporation such as Media Specialists or Instructional Coaches would make great partners to collaborate with on this project.

Step 3: Participate!

You and the educator you’ve connected with can decide when and how you will connect your students. Although there is a schedule for when to read the books/chapters, you and your partner teacher can choose to modify it. The possibilities are endless when it comes to how your students connect. It can be as simple as posting discussion questions on a Padlet or shared Google Doc and both classes responding asynchronously. This gives teachers flexibility as to when to participate in the project. Integrating responses from the other class into your read aloud discussion can broaden perspectives and make it more interesting.

Another option is to have students video chat using a platform such as Google Meet or Zoom. This makes the discussions between students come alive. Be sure you consider any time zone changes when setting up any type of synchronous meeting. Educators planning to participate in this project have contributed to this shared document, making it easy to find resources such as templates, links to author websites/interviews, Seesaw activities, and lesson plans for all of this year’s books.

Most importantly, have FUN with this project. Any type of participation is giving students the opportunity to interact, engage, and connect in a whole new way!

Still have questions? Check out the Global Read Aloud FAQs page!

I share quick tips on navigating the site and getting started with the Global Read Aloud in this quick video guide:


  • Jessica Zepik is a Media/eLearning Specialist at East Elementary, which is a part of South Madison Community Schools in Pendleton, IN. Her role includes managing the elementary library and supporting teachers and students with blended learning. She coaches the Spell Bowl team, sponsors the Girls Who Code club and serves on the School Improvement Committee. Jessica has a graduate certificate in Online Teaching and Assessment, a high ability endorsement and is a Project Lead the Way and Project Based Learning trainer. She is a lifelong learner who is passionate about education and loves working with teachers and students!

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