When I was in the fifth grade, my teacher—let’s give a shout out to Mrs. Alexander!—read to our class. After recess, she turned off the lights, and we rested our sweaty little heads on our desks. One of the things I remember most about this time in our daily schedule was her enthusiasm while reading. Her short brown bob would swing as she paced in the front of the room. She used different voices for each character so we knew who was speaking. She read at the proper pace so we could follow the story, and she paused at the right moments to allow us to absorb what we were hearing. Then just about the time we cooled down and stopped fidgeting, she stopped reading. Of course, it always seemed to be at some critical point in the story, and we wailed and begged for her to read more, which she rarely did. Instead, she usually left us hanging until the next day. Mrs. Alexander, like so many wonderful teachers across the nation, knew that her read aloud time served two purposes. It gave us time to settle so she could teach, and it fostered a love of books through storytelling. After all, who doesn’t love to hear a good story?
I just started reading The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald. It’s the book that Mrs. Alexander brought so vividly to life for me in the fifth grade. I’ll get back to you once I’ve finished . . .