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!