Thursday, May 13, 2010

Last Read Aloud of the Year

How can it possibly be that time of year already?!! This week, I started my final read aloud of the year with my students. For me, the first read aloud of the year and the last are the ones I feel the most pressure to choose the perfect book to share with my students. In the beginning of the year, the pressure is to find a book that will allow us to start to build our reading community from Day 1. At the end of the year, the pressure for me is to find a book that embodies all the wonderful qualities of writing we've celebrated all year long during this special time together. It is also a gift of language from me to them to lift them up as readers as they leave our 5th grade classroom and head to middle school.

After much deliberation, our final read aloud is Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper. Not only is it beautifully written, but the characters, especially the main character Melody, are so vibrant and well-developed. In addition, the conversations about students who look different from the typical student, and the assumptions we make because of those appearances have already been very meaty, and we've only read for 5 days!!

Bill is a HUGE fan of Countdown by Deborah Wiles. He is currently using Countdown as his measuring stick for his opinion about Newbery hopefuls. I loved Countdown, also, but for me, Out of My Mind is my current Newbery measuring stick. What's fun about that is I have helped develop a community of readers who really loved my passion for When You Reach Me, and especially loved that we were reading it together when the Newbery was announced this year. So, when I told them how strongly I felt about Out of My Mind, they were immediately open to the experience and the story. Most of them are already in love with Melody because Draper has given her such a great "voice".

The message that I take away from this experience is that children are really influenced by our passion about books. Rather it is our first read aloud, a read aloud in January, or our last read aloud, we need to be committed to what we are reading and really love the story and writing ourselves.

So, what is (or will be) your last read aloud? It's always fun to share good titles!! :)

*for my full review, check here


  1. I do love Countdown, but I haven't read Out of My Mind, yet. It may have just moved to the to of my pile.

  2. My colleagues LOVED getting to see a glimpse of your classroom when Samantha Bennett was there. They are pretty sure you are close to walking on water

  3. Kristine - I am most definitely blushing online right now. Thanks for the kind words, but assure your colleagues that, with my clumsiness, I tend to trip and fall into the water, rather than walk on it. :)

  4. I just bought Out of My Mind. Grand first chapter. I can't wait to read the rest of it, but so far I am amazed by the writing!

  5. Karen:
    Ruth and I have a question for you, but it's more appropriate for email than for a comment on this blog. Would you be able to shoot me your email address by going to