Read Around the World

A few weeks ago to cap off our reading week celebrating Dr. Suess’ birthday, our school had a reading marathon. It was an entire day dedicated to reading and doing reading activities. Honestly, it was my favorite day of the school year so far. I mean come on, reading, ALL DAY! How does it get any better than that?!

I knew that reading all day, even with breaks in between for activities, might be a bit of a stretch for some of my second graders who don’t have enough stamina built up yet to do that. So I brainstormed some ideas of what we could do to blend the reading and activities in a meaningful way. I knew I would need to providing breaks, movement and chunk our reading times into small manageable sections.

What resulted were a few ideas that were a big success.

First, I reached out to parents to ask for mystery readers. I was floored by how many parents wanted to come in! When I mapped out times for all interested parents to come in, I quickly realized we would not have time for much else! It was great way to break up the day into 20-30 minute chunks of a parent reading, students reading, parent reading, students reading.

Before I knew how many interested parents I would have I thought of another idea to give a theme to our reading day. Reading around the world! It would tie in perfectly with our social studies curriculum and would be a fun way to read picture books students might not have heard before.

I started combing through my own picture book collection, searching Pinterest for ideas, and talking with other teachers about some of their favorite stories. After many hours researching and a couple trips to the library, I had a pretty comprehensive list of picture books from each continent that I could read to students.

Now my only problem was not having enough time to actually read! With so many parent volunteers, it didn’t leave me much time for my own read alouds. What a nice problem to have! Since I would continue teaching social studies long after the reading marathon was over, I figured I could start off our Read Around the World activity with one or two books on our reading marathon day and then continue it during our social studies time during the rest of the year.

Read Around The World Cover

What a success it was! We had a recording sheet for the titles of books and a map page to shade in as we covered each continent. It was a lot of fun not just reading a great picture book, but then giving it a little more context by showing where in the world the story either took place or originated from.

Between our global reading, mystery readers and independent reading time, students had a great variety of reading options for the day. They also had a chance to get up and move. They would come to the carpet for a read aloud and then pick a spot around the room to sit and read independently. Hearing from many different readers also made listening to stories engaging. Overall it was a huge success!

For days after the marathon as we continued reading books to complete our journey around the world in reading. Students would identify the continent they believed the next picture book was from, often times before I even asked about it. Other stories that we read from our anthology and students own reading books were shared with the class. Students couldn’t wait to tell others where they thought their readings were from. It warmed my teacher heart to see students analyzing books and thinking about where in the world they thought the story was from.

If you think you would be interested in reading around the world with your own students you can grab my Read Across the Seven Continents book recommendations, recoding pages and extension writing activity by clicking here. It was such a great way to weave together reading and social studies, I just wish I had thought of it sooner!



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