What is your earliest or fondest memory in which someone read aloud to you?
I was lucky. When I was little, my mom read to me all the time. Both my parents were teachers and they understood the importance of reading. My mom stayed home with us when we were little too. As I sat down to think about this prompt, two books jumped into my mind: Dick and Jane book and Little Runner. Both of these books helped me along the path to reading on my own, learning letters and their sounds and putting them together to form words. Dick and Jane books helped me practice sight words over and over again. Little Runner also introduced interesting words, like "wampum" to me and we read them over and over and over. I was endlessly fascinated by these stories and loved to create my own.
What I remember the most though, aside from the actual stories, was the feeling that I had when I was all snuggled up with my mom or my dad. That is the feeling that I get today when I read with my own children. We are sharing this experience together - no interruptions, no anything. Just the story and being together, warm, quiet, laughing and not wanting it to end.
As I got older, that same feeling continued, whether I was reading with someone or by myself. Books continue to have that allure for me. I fall deeply into these stories, other worlds, times or places, and sometimes read them again and again, relishing.
When I read with my students, I hope I create that kind of feeling for them. One of my favorite things to hear is when I finish a story is, "Read it again!" I often feel like we are under a spell - they are so excited to listen to the story.
This year we will be celebrating World Read Aloud Day for the second time. The two schools that I work at connected with so many amazing schools and authors last year, mostly through the use of Skype. We will do so again this year, with many familiar faces along with some new ones. Connections will be made with Washington State, Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Georgia, and more. I am thrilled to have authors Ame Dyckman and Patricia Newman visiting with us as well!
Our skypes involve the students introducing the schools to one another, followed by a shared reading of some sort, such as reading a book together with teachers or students taking turns by pages or by character (Elephant and Piggie are wonderful for that!) Many times we use the website wegivebooks.org for our shared reading. If there is time, students love to ask each other questions or share favorite books.
However you celebrate this year, share the joy that reading aloud to others can bring! Raise your voice!