The age-old tradition of storytelling came to life in a new format at Osseo Middle School for World Read Aloud Day celebrated on Feb. 1 and 2. Twenty-five published authors from California to Maryland to just down the street in Minneapolis landed onscreen and were digitally brought into the classroom using Skype.

The school media center was stocked with books from these authors such as Gae Plisner, Nora Raleigh Baskin, Donna Gephart and Elena Arnold, and students from 30 classes have been able to check out these books for several months to prepare for World Read Aloud Day. Ready with questions and information about the authors, students talked with the authors and listened to them read sections of their books. Our students learned new information about the authors, their writing processes, and secret details about new books yet to be published.

Author Laura Shovan showed a class her three-inch binder full of revisions and notes on the characters of one book to encourage students to keep practicing to make their work better. Melanie Conklin, an author from New Jersey, gave further insight into the creative process by showing off her three-panel presentation poster board covered in small notecards representing different scenes in her book. She explained that by breaking down the book into scenes, she is able to focus on getting each paragraph just right and then the whole process of writing a book does not bog her down.

“Reading opens up new worlds and stretches our minds,” says Sandy Otto, instructional coach at Osseo Middle School and organizer of the World Read Aloud Day events. “I love being able to offer all of our students the opportunity to read great books and hear from the authors themselves. Together we are inspiring the next generation of strong readers and writers.”

This is the second year Osseo Middle School celebrated World Read Aloud Day, which is made possible through a District 279 Foundation grant that supports purchasing the new books by the authors.

Additionally, fourth- and fifth-graders at Edinbrook Elementary who belong to the Student Council read books aloud to each of the 19 K-3 classrooms to celebrate World Read Aloud Day. One of the student readers reported on the experience, "I learned that the kindergartners are real good listeners." 

WRAD collage