The Power of Read Alouds
#sol- September 20, 2016
I prepared myself for all the emotion of reading the last chapter of Stone Fox. “I have read the book before, even read it to last year’s class, ” I told myself. “I don’t need to cry this time. I know what is going to happen. I can brace myself for the shock,” I tried to convince myself. There I sat with my class of third graders gathered around me. There was an audible gasp when it came to the line where Searchlight’s heart burst. The buzz started, “You mean she died?” a few asked. “Is that real, did she really die?” another voice called out. And then it happened, I could feel the hot tears brighten my eyes and seep out the edges. “Are you crying?” a small voice asked. “Look, she is crying,” two students in the back were shocked. Somehow I got through the rest of the chapter after tearing up a few more times. After a minute for us all to recuperate a bit we began to reflect.
Somehow I got through the rest of the chapter after tearing up a few more times. After a minute for us all to recuperate a bit we began to reflect. As we discussed author’s purpose we wondered why the author had the story end this way. The students recalled that the book had been based on a true story the author had been told, so we reread the author’s note. “Things don’t always turn out how you expected,” one wise student shared. “Maybe the author knew that we are used to happy endings and he wanted us to know that not every ending is happy,” another student added. “He wanted to show how kind people can be,” another student shared.
I love to read aloud with my students and I choose stories run the gamut of silly to serious. I do not always take the time to have them share as much of their thinking as we do today, but it was impressive to hear how in the space of a few weeks these third graders have grown as learners. Reading their reflections afterward about the kind of readers they are and the kind of readers they want to be made me glad that we are building our community of readers day by day. We closed the day, later with The Not So Quiet Library and here we shared the laughs. A different feeling book, but building our reading community book by book.
Thank you, authors!