Saturday, February 16, 2013

World Read Aloud Day Blogger Challenge #1

I'm excited to participate in the World Read Aloud Day Blogger Challenge!

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This week's challenge was to write about what you think is special about reading aloud.  Where do I begin?  My mom said I loved Dr. Suess books read aloud and could recite/pre-read One Fish, Two Fish, which was my favorite.  I remember when my 7th grade teacher read The Rats of Nimh aloud to us, and I was transported.  In high school, my favorite teacher read A Day No Pigs Would Die aloud, and I was devastated.  When I had children, I started reading aloud to them even before they were born.  My favorites and theirs as they were babies and toddlers were Good Night Moon,  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? , and David A. Carter's If You're Happy and You Know It. When my girls got older, one of my most vivid read aloud memories was Stone Fox.  When I got to you-know-what-part, I broke down crying so hard I had to pass it to my oldest who could read by then so my youngest, who couldn't read yet, could hear what happened next, and my oldest was crying so hard, she couldn't continue either!  I had to compose myself so we could finish it.  I also remember reading Poppy to them, all three of us curled up under the covers.  We also read Harry Potter books and many others aloud, into their tween years.  Reading aloud was an every night routine and one we loved.  When I started teaching, I looked forward to reading aloud to my students.  I loved Where the Red Fern Grows, Summer of the Monkeys, and The Big Wave when I first started,  but it wasn't until the last 6 or 7 years that it was something I incorporated as an every day routine.  Now my favorite read alouds are The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane,  Wonder, The One and Only Ivan, Capture the Flag, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, and I'm looking forward to introducing some I've not tried yet like The False Prince and Bigger Than a Bread Box.  I also LOVE reading picture books aloud, several a day if  I can!  Now that I've reflected on my memories and favorite books, I should answer why I think it's so special.  It is the sense of community and bonding that happens over the books.  It is the shared experience.  I even read aloud to my friends in the car on our way to our girls' trips in the summer (State of Wonder, How I Live Now, and Fault in Our Stars) and to my family on the way back from vacation (Unbroken)  It is the way it brings together your children and family, your classroom of kids, your best friends, any gathering of two or more and creates a lasting memory and shared conversation.  As much as reading can be a private experience, I think it is best when it is part of a community.  That's why it is so fun to teach reading and promote books in your classroom.  It is also why it has been so fun to be a part of a blogging and social network communities like Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads. It's why I love my book club. We can all talk about books!

I'm so looking forward to World Read Aloud Day!  I'm not exactly sure how the whole day will look yet - I haven't participated in it before, but so far, I have Tanya Lee Stone Skyping us about her books.  Courage Has No Color is circulating around my classroom, and we will read Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors?   to prepare.  Katherine Applegate is overwhelmed with the attention The One and Only Ivan is getting, so she wasn't able to schedule a Skype visit, but she generously offered to answer questions through e-mail since I am reading aloud her amazing book right now to three of my classes.  Laurel Snyder is also going to Skype when we finish Bigger Than a Bread Box with another of my classes.  What an incredible experience these authors have given us - thank you, Kate Messner, for recruiting authors to make available to teachers on WRAD.  I will be back next week for the next prompt.  Thanks, WRAD, for challenging us to reflect on reading!

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