Thursday, October 18, 2007

Read Alouds

Harry Sue went pretty well. I said the word "chest" in place of "boobs" a couple times, and had a long conversation about Grandma's racism and use of the "N" word---but the themes of this book are so powerful and good, that I think it was worth the very careful line I had to walk to pull it off. And, just like previous years at Washington, I have at least two students with parents who are incarcerated. Both of these students responded very well to the book. It helped open up tender connections and rich conversations. About two-thirds of the way through I was thinking that reading it was a bad idea. But now, looking back, I'm glad we read it, and I'm glad it was our first read aloud. The only thing I'll do differently, when I read it again, is give my students a little more front-loading about why we read books about "bad", real-life situations, and I'll carefully read each chapter the night before I read it in class.

Monday we started Bud, Not Buddy. What a fantastic read aloud. I LOVE Bud's narrative voice and I get way into thoroughly embodying his tough, sweet, funny, and observant character. I'm going to pull a sample of excellent essay writing from the first chapter, from the part when Bud discusses why it's rough being a six-year-old.

My student teacher is being the given the gift of teaching my whole class for five full days next week. The wonderfully rewarding, rich community building experience of reading out loud to my students will be the part of the day I most miss.

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