“You can’t stop!”
These are just a few of the many comments I heard when I tried to finish my read aloud the other day. We were so very close to the end of Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder. When this happened I, again, was stunned at the intensity children listen to what we read to them. I promise to not get on a soapbox and write about the importance of Read Alouds. Instead, I will share the pure joy I felt while reading this wonderful book to my class.
Bigger Than a Bread Box is not a guy’s book. I can’t imagine most boys picking it up on their own accord and actually reading it. Now, that is not to say that a boy would not enjoy it because 13 third grade boys listened intensely to the beautiful words of Ms. Snyder. But to be blunt: girl on cover, girl main character, grandma, and mom. Not a lot of dudes!
Back to read aloud time. I do it daily after lunch, and it last about 15 minutes. Trust me when I say that it could easily go longer. That is why there were groans and protest the other day. I try to find new books each year. It is not that the cannon is not filled with great read alouds, but I want to make sure kids get a well-rounded literacy experience. I try to have a mixture of male and female protagonist, genres, and lengths. That is how we ended up with Bigger Than a Bread Box.
The story is about a family going through problems. Mom splits from Dad and takes Rebecca and her little brother to Atlanta to stay with Gran. While there Rebecca finds a breadbox that grants wishes. A couple of catches: one it must fit in a bread box, two it won’t get her parents back together. Along the way Rebecca learns some important lessons. I’m not going to give more way because it is a book that must be read and enjoyed.
Like I wrote earlier this is not a soapbox post about the importance of read alouds, but more a statement about the love I have for this daily routine. Every summer I start the quest for the first read aloud of the year. (Yes, that is the dictionary definition of DORK!) I email friends, talk to people at The Bookies, read blogs and find the perfect first book.
There have been times where the book is not well received, so that leads to a discussion about it is OK to stop reading a book. Luckily this rarely happens. And, so on to picking our next read aloud. I have a couple of ideas. I am toying with reading a classic. I might read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, or The Phantom Tollbooth, or something new. I still have some time to decide. One thing I do know is that what ever it is will be a wonderful time in my room.