Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Doesn't Everybody Like A Story?

I got scolded once for reading outloud to my middle school students.  I was told that they should be reading for themselves, and my reading to them was simply enabling them.  I nodded my head and probably said something like "Thanks for your input", but it didn't stop me.  I loved to read out loud to my kids.  I remember once during a unit on Walk Two Moons the class and I could barely get through the scene where Sal's grandpa keeps taking those "darn snakes" out of his car to fix the "car-bust-er-ator."  The kids were giggling so much, and I couldn't keep a straight face either.  Or when, in the book Holes we meet the Warden for the first time.  The anxiety was almost palpable. 

The beauty of reading outloud, for me anyway, was that once I hooked the kids it didn't matter what was going on during the day with them.  I could pick up the book we were reading and the room would grow silent.  "Shut up!  She's gonna read!"  I loved that no matter who it was: shy girl, popular girl, bully, sports nut, they all lost themselves when the story started.

I thought about that tonight when Hadley and I read our stories together before she went to bed.

We talked a lot about Foo Foo the Snoo, and crocodile collars this evening.  We practiced reading with one eye shut, and talked a little bit about why the Cat in the Hat is in the book I Can Read With My Eyes Shut.  Before we started reading, Hadley wasn't super excited about going to sleep.  We had a little argument and it was a disruption, but once we started to read stories she and I got to share a few moments being in another world. 

I love the scene in "You've Got Mail" where Meg Ryan says, "Once you read a story it becomes a part of you."  Is it identifying with a character?  Is it being in another place for awhile?  Is it the ability to see your problems or life in a different light?  Whatever it is about reading, I agree.  The stories become part of us.  And reading them with friends, children, students, etc. seems to form a tight bond too.  I am thankful that no matter what has happened during the day, Hadley, and now Harper will have stories read to them before they go to bed.  I love sitting with them, pointing out objects with Harper, or discussing what, exactly, a "snoo" is with Hadley.  I know the stories they read are becoming part of them.  I hope they help us to remain a part of each other as well.


  1. I love to read out loud. When I'm editing I do it a lot. And I read out loud in home-school every day. It's a time of connecting. Never stop. :)

  2. One of my only memories of fourth grade is the mental image of my teacher sitting at her desk, reading aloud various chapter books to the class. I loved listening to her read.

  3. Love the post! I have some great memories of being read to, and love the different worlds books can take you to. You have such an incredible way of discussing things through your writing. Miss you and the fam! ~ K-Yee

  4. K-Yee!!!!! Thanks for commenting! You made my day! :)

  5. Books simply become our friends I think. I often meet my ex pupils and their faces light up when they remind me of our read alouds or poems I shared.

  6. Hands down, this is what miss the most about teaching. The first few pages in "The Stories Julian Tells" are so memorable, and gave me the best opportunity to "yell" in the classroom (enacting Julian's father) :). The kids loved it, and so did I.