Wednesday, February 1, 2023

WRAD 2023 by the Number

Yesterday (Wednesday February 1st) was World Read Aloud Day, otherwise know as WRAD. This event was created by the non-profit LitWorld, and is sponsored by Scholastic (the creators of this awesome badge!). Here is a description from scholastic's website: 

"For 13 years, World Read Aloud Day has called attention to the importance of sharing stories by challenging participants to grab a book, find an audience, and read-aloud! The global effort, . . . is celebrated annually in over 173 countries and is all about bringing people together through the shared connection of reading aloud in all of our communities."

I have been participating in WRAD since 2016 (so for 8 years now!!), and I love doing it! It's so fun to meet young readers and share my love of reading with them. 

This year, my schedule was PACKED, and I thought it might be fun to give a rundown of numbers, stats, and basically, just do a little WRAD summary thread. I posted most of this on Twitter as a thread, but I'm adding a few things here.

image of a computer on a shoe box, and a stack of books next to it.
My WRAD set-up

I hope you enjoy this inside look!

# of visits booked: 16
# of requests I couldn't accommodate and referred to others: 2
# of visits made: 13
# of states: 9 + 1 outside the US
# of visits cancelled for weather: 1
# of visits cancelled for time zone issues: 1
# of visits cancelled for unknown reasons: 1

Closest visit: Colorado
Furthest visit: Dominican Republic
State that cancelled for weather: Texas (!!!)

Grades I visited:*
Pre-K: 1
K: 7
1st: 5
2nd: 3
3rd: 1
4th: 1

*At some schools, I visited several grades at once, so the numbers won't match my number of visits

Books requested:

Help Wanted: Must Love Books: 4 times
Braver than Brave: 5 times*
The Recess Genius: 5 times

*I only read this one 4 times because of the weather cancellation

Book I am best at reading aloud: Help Wanted
Book I love reading aloud best: Braver than Brave (seriously, the ending blows kids minds, and I swear you can see it changing their world view just a little)
Book I can't wait to read more: The Recess Genius

Most Popular Question: How many books have you written?

Question I expected, but wasn't asked: How old are you?
A close second: Where do you get your ideas?

Favorite Question: What would you do if you weren't an author?
Best Question: So, in Braver than Brave, Wanda was brave, but the boy didn't think she was brave?

Quick pause to address that question. SO perceptive! This sweet girl almost whispered this question, and she was so brave to come up and ask it. We had a wonderful discussion about how sometimes when we're brave, others won't see how brave we are being. And that's okay, as long as we know inside ourselves that we were brave. It was a moment. The best kind of moments. The exact kind of moment that reminds me why I write the books I write. 💗

Okay, moving on:

Most unexpected questions (but I still loved them!):
-How do you make the shiny plastic covers?
-How do you make the words small & black?
-How do you put the pages together to make books?

(clearly I need to visit a book printer and learn all these things!)

# of illustration questions I was asked*: 5

-How do you draw without smudging the pictures?
-How do you decide what to draw on the covers? (2x)
-How do you decide what the characters look like?
-How did you create the art in Braver than Brave?

*Not including the questions about working with an illustrator

# of times kids thought I was less cool when they found out I didn't illustrate the books: 13 😅

(Okay, okay, that is just my perception, but it felt true, lol!)

# of others' books I shared: 15 (some multiple times) 
-9 PBs
-5 MGs

Questions I struggled most to answer:
-What is your favorite book that you wrote?
-What is your favorite book?

Things that helped w/WRAD visits:

-Using a Sign-up Genius to schedule visits
-Getting on @KateMessner's list
-Having work samples nearby to show
-Setting up my station the night before
-Using a slide presentation for book images
-Reading from a hard copy while kids view slides

Things I WISH I had done:

-Printed off a picture of my dog & family to show
-Asked teachers in advance to enable screen sharing
-Included a question on my sign-up about which book they wanted read & which state the school is in
-Recommended classes prepare questions in advance
-Requested that they don't mute the students as I read (The interaction always makes read-alouds better.)

And one last thought. 

I didn't mean to book so many visits. I failed to do the math when I set up my sign-up (lol!). And while I loved every visit, I only made it through 10 before my voice started giving out. Next year, I'll do fewer.

I just love visiting with students!

Happy World Read Aloud Day!! Keep Reading!