Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Listen Up! It's Time to Read - ALOUD!

March 1 found my fellow Teaching Author Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford’s daughter Kate Ford, only 4 11/12, writing across America.
March 2 found her, dressed Seusssationally, reading across America.
Today, March 3, Kate can celebrate literacy all around the world by reading aloud her Once Upon A Time story.
Happy World Read Aloud Day!

Not to worry if you know neither the day nor LitWorld, its sponsoring organization.
Both were unknown to me until I heard Pam Allyn passionately address the Anderson’s Bookshop’s 8th Annual Children’s Literature Breakfast two Saturdays ago in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, sharing her life’s work and recent teacher literacy training sessions in Africa.

Pam serves as the Executive Director of LitWorld, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing quality education to the world’s most vulnerable children, as well as of LitLife, a nationally-recognized organization that specializes in transformative school improvement through literacy education. She also recently authored What to Read When: The Books and Stories to Read with Your Child (Penguin/Avery, 2009).

Pam invited the 750 Breakfast-gathered authors, teachers, librarians and young readers to celebrate World Read Aloud Day today - to join the global literacy movement that works to ensure that every child, in every part of the world, is given the right to read stories, hear stories and write the stories of their lives.
I graciously extend that invitation to you.

Visit the LitWorld website to discover a variety of suggested activities and opportunities – for teachers, parents, family members, librarians, children.
Or simply read aloud – to your children, students, grandchildren, friends, at a school or library, in your home or Senior Citizen facility.
Choose your favorite book, your favorite poem, a book you’ve just discovered, a favorite blogger’s post.
Even read aloud, for your ears only, your latest revision of your work-in-progress!

Writers are readers.
But how many of us became readers because someone in our lives read aloud to us?
At the Anderson’s Children’s Literature Breakfast, two guest authors described their teachers’ reading of E.B. White's Charlotte’s Web as life-changing.
I still hold a visual of the blue braided oval reading rug in my beloved teacher Miss Patton’s Kindergarten room. I still recall the day she read us The Ugly Duckling.
I read aloud to every fifth grade class I taught, every day, for fifteen minutes. Several of my students, now grown and parents, to my surprise recalled each and every title.
My writing class read alouds include picture books and novels.

What read-aloud books do you recall?
And who were the readers who lovingly read them?
Who helped you read and hear stories?  Who helped you write the story of your life?
Maybe find a moment to write one of those readers a Thank You note.
(Today would be perfect.)
Then, read that note aloud.

Happy World Read Aloud Day!

Esther Hershenhorn

Looking for a good book to read-aloud and/or tips to keep your listeners listening?
Check out Reading Is Fundamental, ReadAloud and Jim Trelease’s and Esme Codell’s Read Aloud Bibles.


Caroline Starr Rose said...

Both of my parents faithfully read aloud to me. My dad read the Little House books, my mom read titles like THE SECRET GARDEN FREEDOM TRAIN everyday after school.

When I taught, I made reading aloud a huge part of my classroom. My favorite read aloud still has to be THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH.

mary ann rodman said...

Even though I was an early and avid reader, I recall those teachers who read to us (and I only remember two) with great affection. Reading aloud was something we did in "reading groups" which meant listening to a classmate stumble through a paragraph in "the reader" with more or less success. My parents never read to me, so the pleasure of an ADULT who would read to kids every day for fifteen minutes after lunch, was a like buried treasure. I didn't necessarily adore the teacher, or even all of the book selections,
but the experience of being read to was a totally different way to experience story. Thank you, Mrs. O'Neill (third grade) and Miss Parnell (fifth grade).
The books I remember were the entire Mary Poppins series (third grade), FOLLOW MY LEADER by Garfield, something called OJIBWAY DRUMS, (which I remember as horrendously dull) THE SHOE BIRD (Eudora Welty's only childrens book...she lived in the same neighborhood as the school) and the entire MRS. PIGGLE WIGGLE series by Betty McDonald. Both of those teachers knew how to get a laugh or have us feel the gravity of a scene, using only their voices.
I didn't know how lucky I was.
Thank you, Esther, for bringing back that lovely memory, as well as that of reading to my own child, This makes my day.

Michelle Sussman said...

My grandmother, Mudder (our silly nickname for her), who died just a little over a year ago, read aloud to me on her porch swing all the time. It's her voice I hear in my head when read.

There was a special Wonder Book she read to me and sadly, I never thought to ask for the book before Mudder lost herself to dementia. For 15 years my mom and I searched the house for that book and never found it. My grandmother, of course, didn't know what we were talking about when we asked her.

A few months ago, my mom and grandpa were finally ready to go through Mudder's things. Hidden in the back of the built-in buffet, a place where Mudder kept holiday decorations, my mom found the book we'd given up all hope of finding. On the cover was written in my grandmother's distinctive handwriting, "To Michelle." One day she must have remembered and hid it away for me. It's sad she never remembered to tell anyone, but the fact that my mom found it by accident was a wonderful gift.

The Surprise Doll by by Morell Gipson is my most prized possession because Mudder was my most beloved storyteller.

Thanks for this post, Esther. I love reliving this story.

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thanks for taking the time to share your favorite read-aloud memories!
Norton Juster's THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH was my #1 Favorite classroom read-aloud, too,Caroline.
Leonard Marcus and Norton Juster are currently creating an annotated version that will be published next year. I can't wait!
And I love the stories both you and Mary Ann shared, Michelle.
I often ask teachers, when beginning a Writing Workshop,"What's YOUR favorite read-aloud memory? Who read to you?" - just to remind them of how important this increasingly-becoming-lost part of school is!

Sarah Campbell said...

Both my parents read to me when I was young. Dad: The Odyssey, Oliver Twist. Mom: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze, The Little House books, Mama, Buy me a China Doll, Do Mommy, Do, and all the rest.
I didn't have many teachers who read aloud -- though I remember Mrs. Jackson in 2nd grade reading Charlotte's Web. I still love reading aloud to my boys: now 11, 13, 14. (Most often, now, it is to the 11 year old.) We just finished The Number Devil and are into a Robin Lister adaptation of King Arthur. Hail to all who read and encourage others to experience the magic.

April Halprin Wayland said...

Whenever I was sick and couldn't sleep, my tired father would tip-toe into the room I shared with my sister, sit on the side of my bed, and read to me from unabridged Complete Sherlock Holmes, by the light from the hall.

It was such a profound action of love. I have written a poem about it, of course.

And Sir Arthur Conan Doyle is still one of my favorite authors!