An Interactive Read Aloud with Islandborn by Junot Diaz

Yesterday, I fell in love. 

Islandborn, a new picture book by the fantastic Junot Diaz, tells the story of Lola, a young girl who was born on an Island that she cannot remember. After being assigned a class project where she has to draw a picture of her "first country," Lola feels a great disconnect from the Island she emigrated from. To address this, Lola sets off to interview her family and neighbors, who recall extraordinary memories (both good and bad) of the Island. After gathering all of these memories for her sketchbook, she soon realizes that "just because you don't remember a place doesn't mean it's not in you."


Gorgeous message, right?!

After devouring the book, I immediately set off to create an Interactive Read Aloud for Islandborn. It's a story that just BEGS to be read aloud to young ears.  I decided to focus on the theme of belonging and began noting pages that support this theme. After coming up with some good read aloud stopping points, I transferred them to Sticky Notes.

I love using sticky notes on pages designated as stopping points in an Interactive Read Aloud. It helps me stay accountable and on target for where to stop, especially with a book like Islandborn, which has so many wonderful teaching points. I know that this particular Interactive Read Aloud is focused on theme, so I have to be careful not to go off the read aloud rails!




After we finish the story, I have students write a response to reading centered upon the teaching point (theme). This allows me to formatively assess whether or not students understood the teaching point.

I hope you pick up Islandborn. I guarantee it will warm your (and your students') hearts!

Yours in Literacy,


Want More?

  • Pick up this Interactive Read Aloud resource at my TpT store
  • An interview with Junot Diaz about Islandborn
By Junot Díaz