Leveraging the power of technology to enhance learning, students at Osseo Middle School marked World Read Aloud Day on Feb. 16 by live chatting with 24 authors from across the country.
While World Read Aloud Day is celebrated by millions of people around the globe each year, the idea to connect students with renowned authors via Skype sessions was first introduced in Osseo Area Schools by Instructional Coach Sandy Otto.
“Author Kate Messner created a World Read Aloud Day website where I found information about authors who were willing to Skype for free on WRAD,” Otto said. “Last year at Maple Grove Middle, my English classes participated in World Read Aloud Day. This year, given my new role, I wanted to expand the author Skype sessions schoolwide at Osseo Middle.”
In order to do that, Otto spent more than four months planning the day’s events—including contacting authors and coordinating video chat logistics with Barbara Kinsmith, library media specialist at Osseo Middle. Kinsmith was instrumental in securing the technology, setting up classrooms to facilitate the Skype sessions, and helping plan the event, Otto said.
In early January, Otto and Kinsmith distributed books to English classes so students could read them prior to the author chats.
“I received a District 279 Foundation grant to purchase multiple copies of the books for students,” Otto added. “Because the Foundation does a lot of work to support children’s literacy efforts, this project was a great fit.”
Otto said she plans to continue World Read Aloud Day events next year at Osseo Middle—and hopes the program can expand to more schools in the district.
“I think everybody should do this,” she said. “It’s incredibly important to get kids involved with reading. Either we turn them on to reading or we turn them off. I hope these events, and getting to meet the authors and dive deeper into the books, will help foster students’ love of reading.”
An initiative of LitWorld, World Read Aloud Day motivates children, teens and adults worldwide to celebrate the power of words and creates a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. Learn more.