Global Read Aloud – Kid Tested and Approved!

This has been one of my favorite units for the past four years. It incorporates ELA, Social Studies, Technology, and SEL. Every year I learn as much as my students do and it is always the number one pick of favorite yearly activities by my students in the end of the year survey. The program is called Global Read Aloud.

Global Read Aloud was begun in 2010 by a teacher named Pernille Ripp and has since connected millions of students and teachers all over the world using one book to make that connection. There is a recommended time frame designated for dates and chapters to be read and teachers create activities and projects to use weekly with the book on the GRA FB page. A Google Map is set up for students to keep up with the location of all readers. Connections are planned either through Google Hangout or Skype or through digital or snail mail postcards.

The first year my students didn’t have a copy of the book, so I just read it aloud. l We didn’t do anything extra with it. Every year since then I have acquired copies for all of my students, and for approximately six weeks I teach my standards using GRA.
The past three years my students have connected with classrooms using Google Hangout, FaceTime, digital and snail mail postcards, Flipgrid and Padlet. We have been a part of a live author interview on You Tube. The first part of every Google Hangout is a Mystery Quest where students use map skills and ask only yes or no questions to determine the other school’s location. Once that has been determined students talk about the book (characters, conflicts, culture, predictions, etc.) and compare each others schools, cities, and future book recommendations. These connections are mainly student lead and I am always so proud of how my students grow through this process.

The third year I asked Donor’s Choose for the K-2 picture books so that my students could go to 1-2 grade classes and read the books to them and introduce GRA to the primary teachers.

This program runs every year from October to mid-November. There are books recommended for every grade from K-12.
Sign up for this year’s Global Read Aloud is happening right now. I hope is that every ELA teacher will give it a try.

I am including some video recordings and photos of activities that my students have participated in.


Kathleen (Kitty) Merk began her teaching career in 1993 and has had the privilege of teaching in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District for 28 years. She currently teaches 6th grade English language arts and social studies at Orchard STEM School. She has taught at three CMSD schools, with seven years’ experience in grades 3–4 and 21 years’ experience in middle school. Kitty attended Cleveland State University for her bachelor’s degree and Cambridge College for her master’s degree. She earned her National Board Certification in 2010. Kitty became an Apple Distinguished Educator in 2016 and loves finding new ways to incorporate technology in her lessons. She was trained in the No Nonsense Nurturer Method and still uses it for positive classroom behavior. Additionally, Kitty is an Art is Ed Liaison and a director of Disney Musicals. One of her fondest memories was being a part of the NASA Reduced Gravity Flight team for Luis Munoz Marin. Kitty teaches reading through novels and lives for students to discover their own love of reading. She loves teaching, theater, reading, traveling, eating, and spending time with family and friends.