Tuesday, March 16, 2021

SLICE#16- I have given up read aloud this year.

I've given up one of my favorite teaching practices this year. 

I'm not reading aloud to one of my classes. 

Now wait, before you start making judgements about me as a teacher, give me a chance to explain. 

At the beginning of the year, I did read aloud to both classes. Every single day.  And we read good stuff. Jacqueline Woodson's Before the Ever After,  and Efren Divided were two of the first stories we shared. And then the kids asked if we could read something lighter. They pushed for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but I wanted them to try something new, so I pulled up Origami Yoda. It's kind of like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, set in a middle school, but with Star Wars connections. And my sixth graders loved it, but they had lots of questions about Star Wars. 

I'm not a Star Wars fan, and I couldn't answer most of their questions, so I went to a resident expert,  our computer teacher and asked if he would come in one day and explain all of the Star Wars stuff. Mr. H is not getting a lot of teaching time this year, and he said he would love to talk to the kids about Star Wars. And the day that he came in to our Google Meet. I just randomly asked him if he wanted to be a guest reader. And again he said he would love to. 

And so he read that day. And the kids loved it, because he did the Star Wars voices. So he came the next day. And the day after that. And the one after that. And then we finished the first book in the series, and the kids wanted him to read another one. I usually don't read more than one book in a series, thinking that if the kids want to read more, they can do that on their own, but in this case, I made an exception.  We read another one. Or actually Mr. H read another one and I listened, and turned the pages on the ebook we projected onto the screen. 

When we finished the second Origami Yoda  book, I thought Mr. H would be probably be sick of us, and would be ready to sign off, but that didn't prove true. He stayed, and read When the Stars Are Scattered. He's an avid comic book reader, and I learned lots of new things about how to read graphic novels. And all of us wept together at the end of this incredible story of two Sudanese boys who grow up in a refugee camp in Kenya.

This week, we started Land of the Cranes. And again, I wondered if our very busy computer teacher, would want to bow out, but again, he jumped right in.  I'm not sure who loves it more-- the kids, or Mr. H., or me. The last couple of weeks we have had a weather delay and a remote learning day, and our schedule has had to be adjusted. I thought I would probably read to the kids on those days, but nope. Mr H. adjusted his schedule so he could still read. 

If I'm really honest, I have to admit that I kind of I miss reading to this group, but I have loved watching a new adult connect to my kids through read aloud. I think Mr. H. will probably continue until the last day of school. We are a community bound together by stories. And Mr. H. is a member of our community. 



Leigh Anne Eck said...

What a wonderful connection between stories, teachers, and students! I bet he is loving every minute of this - and the students as well!

JudyK /J Koval said...

That is such a sweet story! How wonderful of you to have added Mr. H. to your community. :-) ~JudyK

Ramona said...

I was so worried when I read the words, "I have given up read aloud." Nooooo!
But the unfolding of this story is sweet and I love that your students have connected with Mr. H over books. One can never have too many people sharing books in a community.

Holly Mueller said...

Like Ramona, I worried about the beginning of this post, but wow! What a neat story. I'd love to hear Mr. H read!

Carol Varsalona said...

"We are a community bound together by stories." It is great to read about the community you developed and the generosity of Mr. H. to read and entice the children with his Star War voices. I also was struck by the words "I have given up read aloud" (just like Ramona was) but you fooled me.

Laura said...

What a great thing for kids to see other adults who like books just as much as you do! It sounds like you've created a beautiful community for your students, Mr. H, and yourself!

Jean said...

This post makes my heart happy. A new read aloud addict and a class of kids enamored with stories!

Elisabeth Ellington said...

I loved this post sooo much!!

Elisa said...

This is an amazing story. I love it. Mr. H is a part of your classroom community and I would say that the way read aloud happens in your classroom now has been enhanced. Thank you for sharing.