Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WRAD Week 3 Blogging Challenge

Week 3:  Profile Partner

"Find a puppet, stuffed animal, or image of your favorite kid lit character. Next, take a selfie with the character. You now have a picture with your WRAD companion. He or she can travel with you wherever you go and whenever you speak up about World Read Aloud Day. Post the image as your profile picture on all of your most-used social media venues (Skype, Facebook, Google+, and Twitter).

For extra credit, try to get three of your friends (in school or on social media) to do the same. In no time we'll be in some terrific company. Nothing like an awesome profile partner when it comes to spreading the good word about reading aloud!

When you've finished, post the photo to your week 3 blogging challenge post. Below the photo share a short narrative explaining why this book character is meaningful to you."

from the WRAD 15 Blogging Challenge on Matthew Winner's blog.

This morning as I was getting ready for school I listened to a few Voxer messages from some of my most favorite people...the Wandoo 5+1!  Andy and Matthew both talked about how much fun they were having taking selfies with book characters and students for this week's WRAD challenge.  After school began, I did a few mind numbing tasks at my desk and then decided I would go drop in at the elementary library to see what was going on (and to look for book character stuffed animals!).  

A third grade class was in the midst of checking out books.  I talked to the students about the books they were reading, made some recommendations, and then rummaged in the closet (with Theresa's permission) to look for fun characters for my profile pic.  I came out with Splat the Cat and Bad Kitty.  The students (graciously) took some pictures with me and the animals.  A vote was taken and they all chose Bad Kitty.  Another student found a Bad Kitty book (you know, the one with the bites taken out of it...) for me to use as an additional prompt.  I stuck around for a few more minutes and was treated to Theresa reading the book Tess's Tree to the third grade class.  The book was projected so all the students could read along and look at the wonderful illustrations by Peter H. Reynolds.  It was truly a breath of fresh air for me and it's a crime I don't take the time to do it daily.

My new profile picture for World Read Aloud Day does indeed feature Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel.  A classic choice, if I do say so myself!

Of course, I've uploaded it to my myriad of social media accounts...Twitter, Vine, Skype, Facebook... and tagged my friends on Twitter to urge them to change their pics as well.  I originally tagged Matthew, Jonathan, and Kathy.  So far only Kathy is holding out on me!  (Get to it, lady!)

I hope to see my #NerdyBookClub friends having a lot of fun with this as well...

All in the name of celebrating "the power of words and create(ing) a community of readers taking action to show the world that the right to literacy belongs to all people. By raising our voices together on this day we show the world’s children that we support their futures: that they have the right to read, to write, and to share their stories."

A very good thing indeed.

Won't you join us next week for World Read Aloud Day?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

WRAD Blogging Challenge: Week 2

You & Someone New

This week's WRAD topic of talking books with "someone new" led me to seek someone outside of my education circle.  

I sent the questions to Tai Fung, a standout in my group of online running friends.  Tai (not his real name; for details about this please read his bio) is not only a runner, but also a lawyer.  A closer look at his Twitter bio reveals all sorts of great details but the two most exceptional:  Tai's a nerd and a baseball fan.  (Does it get any better?!)  He's also a great writer so be sure and follow tales of his running escapades on his blog Everybody Tai Fung Tonight.  (Oh that name!)

Tai graciously answered the WRAD questions and even shared an interesting story about reading aloud during his college days.  

Without further ado, here we go!

Tai's answers will be in red; Mine will be in orange.

It's funny -- when I was in college at NCSU, I had an English prof who had us participate in a study.  What we did was this:  for one semester, I read (in person) to a 4th grade class in Raleigh.  I'd read a SECTION of a book, and then stop it at a critical point after a good while reading.  Usually a few books per session.  The kids seemed to really like it if I did weird/funny accents or voices for the characters, or if I used varying inflections as I read.  

Anyway, we measured how well it did for generating interest in the book.  Also, at the same time, I read on videotape to a different class (so no feedback, but still did the voices/accents that the kids all seemed to love.  We measured THAT class's interest.  I suppose there was a control class that got nothing.  Alas.

Once I graduated, and then after law school, it turned out my first assignment had an "adopt-a-school" thing, so I found another class to go read to, although this time it was more complete stories.  So basically, I've been reading aloud to children since I was barely responsible enough to even consider HAVING them.

I love this story so much!  What an interesting comparison to see if the face to face interactions of reading aloud made a difference with students.  My gut reaction is OF COURSE IT DID!  Relationships can be such a strong factor in read alouds!  

Tai and I also had a discussion about inflection and intonation while reading aloud vs. none...but I'll leave out the details to protect the not-so-innocent infractors of this important rule.

On to the questions!

1. I think everyone in the world should read… 

This is tough.  In the WORLD?  I'd almost have to go with a children's book, because by the time we're older, we're already too subdivided.  Hmm.  Let's go with the works of Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss is a great choice!  I agree and raise you Grimm's Fairy Tales...the originals, of course.  Yes, they're not for the very young but I love the stories and so do children.  It's perfectly okay not to read the watered down versions to kids.  They'll be okay!  (Look at dad always read the "classic" Grimm tales to me!)

2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…

Dave Barry.  He can entertain even reading a phone book (although at this point aren't phone books just big yellow ads for bail bonds and tow trucks??).

I love that you said Dave Berry because he cracks me up.  I'm going with Mo Willems!  The one time I had the privilege to hear him read and meet him still stands out in my mind.  He managed to entertain an audience of babies all the way to grandparents for an entire hour...and we still wanted more!  The power of laughter is strong for all ages.

3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is... 

No specific character, but I love to characterize haughty, nasty, or the self-important.  They usually end up getting taken down a peg, and it's fun to really "sell" their personality for their later comeuppance. 

I completely agree!  I love reading a good villain's voice.  I also enjoy a character with a great sense of sarcastic humor.  I guess what I enjoy is putting on a good show for listeners.  If  I can get into a character, the read aloud is a win for everyone. 

4. The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf or e-reader...

Pretty much all of the works of James Randi.

I'll admit it.  I had to Google James Randi and pull up a list of books he's authored on GoodReads.  Interesting stuff!  

My bookshelves remain crammed with fantasy books, but realistic YA books are creeping into my shelves and now take up way more space than I care to admit.  I do love being able to recommend books for all of my students and lately I seem to have even more realistic readers at the high school level.    

5. My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is...

I love reading stories aloud. The opportunity to really get creative with voice inflection, accents, or just differing characterizations really excites me.

My favorite part is hooking a reader so they want to hear or read more of the story.  Sharing a good story is a powerful way to connect with others.

A HUGE thank you to Tai for playing along and answering this week's questions!  

Be sure and check out my last year's WRAD answers to similar questions HERE and follow the hashtag #WRAD15 for more updates from participants across the globe.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

World Read Aloud Day Week 1 Blogging Challenge

World Read Aloud Day (week) is truly one of my most favorite times of the school year.  This year we're celebrating March 2 through March 6.  As I'm preparing our school schedule planning connections with authors, teacher-librarian friends, connections within our building, and selecting books/passages/poems to share with students, I'm also participating in the weekly blogging challenge.  Let's get started! 

Week 1: February 9 - 15

What is your favorite book to read aloud or to hear read aloud and why?


Let's start with a VERY DIFFICULT QUESTION!  

Asking me to pick my favorite book to read aloud is like asking me which of my two children is my most favorite or which chocolate dessert is the yummiest or the best book I've ever read...  

... you get the picture.

When students ask me about my favorite book, I usually tell them it's whatever I'm currently reading or whatever I just finished reading.  My thoughts on read alouds are quite similar.  I enjoy sharing brand new books as read alouds with students and my son, but there's something to be said about a great book that just begs to be read aloud over and over.  

My most favorite books to read aloud to students usually involve humor and voices.  I love sharing books by Mac Barnett Jon Klassen, Jarrett Krosoczka and Dan Santat.  I also love reading books by Adam Gidwitz to my middle school students.  His narrator voice is one of the best hooks I know to truly make a student want to read more of the story. 

My son and I have been reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling as our nightly read alouds for the past several months.  I had forgotten how truly amazing each book is!  The wonderful vivid language, characters, and story lines make reading the books to him a nightly adventure for both of us.  

Other wonderful read alouds that I've shared with both my children and many students are Wonder by R.J. Palacio and The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.  Both hold a very special place in my heart and always bring about both laughter and tears when I read them aloud.

So, I guess the bottom line is I don't have a favorite read aloud...

But reading aloud to others is one of my most favorite things to do!  I love reading great books aloud to others.  It's definitely one of the (many) joys of being a parent and a librarian.  

Whether you're 3 or 103...everyone enjoys a great read aloud!

Don't forget to visit LitWorld for activities and recommendations for you for World Read Aloud Day whether you're participating in a classroom, community, home, or office!  
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