Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Read Aloud Magic - Slice of Life Challenge

Everyday I read aloud with my students, some kind of magic happens within our class, but on Tuesday there was an extra huge dose of magic.  I have been reading aloud Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt for about a month to my morning language arts class.

On Tuesday, for those of you who are familiar with the story, I read the part where Doug fills in at the last minute for Lil on Broadway.  Life was happy, life was good, and then I got to the last part of chapter 9, when Doug arrives home and is sharing what happened with his brothers, and they tell him about a phone call they received from Lil's parents (page 323 if you own the book and need to refresh your memory).

I had been reading for thirty minutes when I got to that point in the story, and had closed the book as it was also the end of the chapter.  I thought we would be able to finish the book together on Wednesday.  Little did I expect the uprising of the group as a whole!  The students were so invested in the characters after the time we had spent with them, and what was unfolding at that particular moment, they weren't going to accept that it was time to stop reading just because I arrived at the end of the chapter.

This group of students is very vocal on a daily basis, but their indignation at stopping the read aloud of Okay for Now at that point was quite something to behold.  I realized that was the magic of an amazing book - it had cast its spell on my students and they needed to see it how it all turned out.  Who was I, a mere mortal, to argue with that kind of magic?!!

So, read on we did... we read until the very end of the book, another forty-five minutes.  During that time, not a student complained about sitting for too long, not one student needed to go to the bathroom, not one student needed a drink of water.  There really was magic in the room.  All that mattered was knowing what would happen to these characters who meant so much to them.  There were audible sighs and gasps at several points during that last chapter, and I teared up several times,  but they were riveted on every word.

I gave up several other language arts learning opportunities for Tuesday, but I don't regret it at all.  I had to bow down to the power and the magic of a beautifully written story.  And in our classroom this morning, we were far more than "okay for now".


**If you didn't see my tweet yesterday or my comment at Two Writing Teachers, I'd just like to apologize to my online writing support group for #slice12 for not being able to reciprocate when it came to commenting these past few days.  The good news is my report cards were finished tonight, and I'll be back and visiting you at your blogs tomorrow.  Thanks for being so generous when you stop by here at Literate Lives.

As always, thanks to Stacey and Ruth at Two Writing Teachers for hosting the Slice of Life Challenge!

13 comments:

  1. Absolutely you had to "bow down to the magic of the read aloud!" That is a beautiful thing! You didn't give up anything - you maximized learning!

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  2. "Ahhhh" I just love that I have found a "kindred spirit" in connecting with you! The "magic" of reading aloud can not be ignored. It's refreshing to know others "get it"!

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  3. Fantastic. Sometimes you just have to do that. Last year the kids and I decided that there should be some kind of pass where if you were in the last part of your book you would be able to be excused from whatever was going on to finish it because it's just too cruel otherwise!

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  4. and isn't the most important part of reading aloud to just enjoy a good story together?

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  5. You do know that the most important structure in a classroom is read aloud. I'm glad you followed your heart and read.

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  6. "The magic of the read aloud" happens as much for me the reader as it does for those listening. Have you read The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma? Much magic there.

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  7. I understand perfectly, for nearly every book I've read aloud there is a point at which we cannot leave it. And I understand with this book & that point in time. What a great story it is, & how wonderful that you chose it for your read aloud. I would love to have sat in on the discussions you must have had. Thank you for telling such a good, good story yourself!

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  8. I love it when this happens! I would read on as well. We talk about how powerful a good book can be, and how they are sometimes hard to put down. I also love it when the students are so affected by the story that they keep bringing it up the rest of the day. Now that's the power of words.

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  9. I love read alouds at any age, I still love hearing others read. I love that you kept going and did exactly what they needed right then. You are a fantastic teacher, your kids are lucky.

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  10. I love the "magic of the read aloud!" It always surprises me how different classes find that magic in different books. I love that I can feel that magic no matter how many times I read a particular book!

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  11. I can understand their passion. What an amazing book!

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  12. one more thing, Karen. Thanks for your support & compliment too, and I just finished Wonder, so wish I had a class to read it to-Amazing book & I guess I have to say it, "wonder" ful!

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  13. We could talk ourselves blue in the face telling students the magic of reading - One good Read Aloud does it for us

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