Sunday, January 27, 2013

Reading Aloud and Loving It

Last week I was honoured to be one of a group of guest readers at a local elementary school in celebration of Family Literacy Day. Upon arrival, we were warmly welcomed by staff and the Grade Eight students who would be our greeters, our tour guides, and the ones to introduce us to each class.

As we moved from class to class at fifteen minute intervals we shared the books we had chosen with the students from kindergarten to Grade Seven. Our Grade Eight ambassadors sometimes got to hear the stories more than once, but they never complained and remained helpful and courteous throughout.

When the bell rang to signal that it was time to move on we were hustled along the hall to the next classroom. The team who helped me find my next stop were three sweet girls — Amanda, Tamara, and Zoë (who also happens to be my granddaughter). That meant I was introduced as "Peggy Dymond Leavey, Local Author and Zoë's Grandmother" (also Miles's when we got to the Grade Four room).

It was a fun morning. I believe you're never too old to enjoy being read to, and there are wonderful picture books out there that work for all ages.

Here are a few tips in case you are lucky enough to be asked to read aloud to someone some day.

If you have only fifteen minutes, picture books of more than forty pages are too long to complete. 
Time your selection carefully.
Practise, practise, practise. 
Be familiar with the story you are reading so that you can make frequent eye contact with your audience; you'll want to gauge their reaction.
Use appropriate facial expressions.
Emote, react, change the tone of your voice to suit the character or the situation.
LOVE the book you choose. It took me three trips to the public library to find the perfect picture books. 

So, which books did I choose?

Kindergarten & Grade One: The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson; Please Louise, by Frieda Wishinsky.
Grade Two & Three: My Sister Gracie, by Gillian Johnson; Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes.
Grade Four & Five: Probuditi, by Chris Van Allsburg. (Fun to see the children "get it.")
Grade Six & Seven: The Real Story of The Big Bad Wolf, by A. Wolf, as told to Jon Scieszka;                               The Stinky Cheese Man, by Jon Scieszka.


Christine McArthur said...

Thanks, Mum, for passing on your love of books to me and to your grandchildren. We will never stop loving to hear you read to us!

Peggy Dymond Leavey said...

Thanks, sweetie! And I got my love from my dad. Your dad was remembering how the Couperus boys used to take turns riding in our car when we all went to Myrtle Beach, just so that they could hear Charlotte's Web.