Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hurray for Read Alouds!

There are many heart pounding moments for the debut novelist: the first time we hold our book, the first time we see it on the shelf, our first book signing. Jenny Meyerhoff shares what makes her giddy about her book launching.

When I imagine my book out in the world, one of the things that most excites me is this: THIRD GRADE BABY being read aloud in a classroom. As a former elementary school student, and then later, as a former elementary school teacher, I know that read aloud time is one of the most magical times of the day. It doesn’t matter how old students get being read to is a pleasure that has no age limit. I remember begging my teacher daily to read just one more chapter. I remember the hush and focus that would fall over students (even the ones who supposedly had difficulty paying attention.)

And the best part, years later, I still remember those books that my teachers (and librarians) read to me and my classmates.

ONE FAT SUMMER, by Robert Lipsyte. Mr. Campbell should have been an actor. He really knew how to read!
THE LEMONADE TRICK, by Scott Corbett. I wrote a letter to Mr. Corbett in fourth grade. He wrote me back!

RAMONA QUIMBY, AGE 8, by Beverly Cleary. My introduction to Beverly Cleary! I quickly read all the other Ramona books.
LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE, by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Made my parents buy me the boxed set.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, by Roald Dahl. My own copy of the book, which still sits on my bookshelf, has been read so many times it’s in tatters.

Thank you, thank you to all the teachers and librarians who fed my love of books. In appreciation, I invite you all over to my blog, The Purple Desk, for a very special contest. Every month, for the entire 2008-2009 school year, I will be awarding one third grade classroom a copy of my book along with a big box of goodies related to my book. Check it out here! To enter your favorite third grade classroom, all you have to do is send an email with the name of the teacher, school and city of the class to

September’s winner has just been posted. Good luck. And if you remember your favorite school read-alouds, I’d love to hear about them!

Thanks, Jenny!

And remember to check back tomorrow when Jenny dishes the truth about the tooth fairy!


goooooood girl said...

So good......

Lynn said...

My fifth and sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Sue Niedzielski, encouraged my love of books by reading to the class. She read poems from WHERE THE SIDWALK ENDS all the time. Most memorable, though, was WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS. I'll never forget seeing the tough boys in class wiping tears at the end of that book!


TJ Brown said...

My third grade teacher read The Jabberwoky with such ferocity, that it actually scared us, even though we had little idea what she was actually saying! Great post, Jenny!

Becky said...

My favorite school read aloud was The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe in fourth grade.

Anonymous said...

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was my fave read aloud back in my teacher days. (Teaching fourth grade, of course!)
-Nancy Viau

PJ Hoover said...

My Charlie looks exactly like that and is in tatters, too!

lightverse said...

Great post!

I remember in 6th grade, when my teacher read The Hobbit out loud to our class, all of the kids in the class were completely engaged and fascinated by the reading.

And something else...

I have 8 year old twins entering 3rd grade tomorrow.

OMG! Where did the time go???)

Anyway, often, at my children's school, when a child celebrates a birthday, parents are welcome to come in (with a treat generally!) and to lead the class in a craft, or to read a book to them.

My kids had actually each written a short story with me (part of a collection I'm compiling) and they asked if I would come into their respective classes to read the story they had each co-written.

Their classmates were astonished. the other kids asked a lot of questions about how my kids came up with the ideas and so forth - and by the end, these kids were charged up to write something themselves (preferably with parent to assist) and then share it with the class, too.

I think reading aloud to kids, particularly if the reader/teacher puts some life into a story or poem, can make it take on a new life, and inspire kids.

Barrie said...

I have fond memories of read-alouds too. Both with teachers and my parents. My mother read aloud the entire set of Galliano's Circus by Enid Blyton to me and my sisters.

I'm heading over to your blog to enter your contest. I have a 3rd grader in a class with a wonderful teacher who reads aloud to the kids!

Jenny Meyerhoff said...

I put it out there in the universe and guess what happened! Just found out my book is being used as a read aloud in at least three classrooms right now!

Marissa Doyle said...

Oh, wow, Jenny--what a terrific thing to hear!

I still miss reading aloud to my pre-school my son actually refused to let on that he already knew how to read because he was afraid we'd stop reading to him. :)