Friday, March 2, 2012

Reading for Dr. Seuss

Today Jeremy and I read to elementary school children in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday. We are both fans of reading so when my mom asked us to read to the children at her school we volunteered. Jeremy was excited since he had participated before and had a great time. It was my first time so I was a bit nervous.

I knew I was reading to Kindergarteners and first graders so I decided to go with pets as my theme since I can easily relate. Yesterday I spent the afternoon at the Anaheim Public Library and chose “Mr. Doodle Had a Poodle” by Jane Belk Moncure (1988). Once at the school I added “The Perfect Pet” by Margie Palatini, “Drippy Fish” by Nicola Baxter and “I am Not Going to Get Out of Bed Today” by Dr. Seuss to my choices for the kids.

Asking the kids if they had pets and what type they were really got raised hands going. I won’t lie; I was pretty overwhelmed! When you aren’t used to being around thirty kids at once and they are sitting around you, asking questions and giving hugs it can be an intimidating job to enter a class and read.

“Mr Doodle Had a Poodle” ended up being a crowd pleaser with lots of audience participation. It helps that I’m a big fan of poodles and that my Valentine’s gift from Jeremy this year was a vintage grey poodle just like in the story. If you’ve got little ones I really recommend this book.

The students were earning points for each page they read or read to them for a contest. One class room kept asking for more books to be read to them because they wanted to win. I think their enthusiasm has rubbed off! I’m excited to finish the books I borrowed at the library yesterday for myself. I do have to admit I have a problem returning books. I’m a continuous renewer!  

As Nat stated, I have a little bit of experience having participated last year.  I like books that involve audience participation because kids will say some of the funniest things you will ever hear.  I am a little embarrassed to say that they are also always proving they are smarter than you give them credit for.  Last year I read for classes from K-6, and in every class I read a book called The Big Black Book of Colors which asks kids how they would describe colors to someone that couldn’t see.   Most of the answers were physical descriptions like warm for yellow or cold for blue, but a few kids actually associated colors with emotions, like anger or happiness.  Very impressive.   I would recommend this book not just for children, but for adults as well since it makes you view life in a new perspective.

This year, I couldn’t find The Big Black Book of Color so I had to go with something a little simpler and funny.  It was called Antics, a book of words with “ant” in them. It was fun to get the kids involved in guessing what some of the words meant, especially Xanthophile, which in case you didn’t know, is someone who loves the color yellow. And I am going to come clean with something:  I didn’t notice (even after reading it 5 times) that the book was an A-Z book in alphabetical order until a 1st grader pointed it out to me. 

I also read a short newspaper article about Dr. Seuss’ birthday celebration and a book called Parts about a boy who is scared of falling apart when he finds hair in his comb.  I did that one in a southern drawl which was pretty fun and got the kids laughing right off the bat. All in all, it was a great day and we had a lot of fun.

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