Every day, no matter what else has gone on, I read aloud to my class.
They are fifth graders, growing tall, beginning to mature, just entering the terrible miracle of puberty.
You would think that they’d be too old to have an adult reading them stories, wouldn’t you?
They love “Read Aloud”. I love it even more. In a time when so much of education is focused on gathering data, on scoring rubrics, on force feeding those Common Core State Standards, it is both a relief and a joy to settle into my chair after lunch, a good book in my hands, the children draped on the rug at my feet.
I love to watch them as I read to them; I love to see them as they react to the action.
Sometimes, when the book is familiar, I can glance at the text and then look out at the kids, knowing the words that are coming next. I can really look at them in those moments, because they do not see me looking. They are seeing the characters in the book, watching the action unfold. They are unaware of the classroom around them, or the teacher who is looking at them tenderly as she reads.
I love to read the words, “She narrowed her eyes”, because I see those beautiful children trying it out, narrowing their own bright eyes. I love to read, “He shook his head”, because so many of them shake theirs.
After lunch on a bright spring day, I love to read aloud to my class. I see the unconscious smiles on the lips of the girls, watching as they twirl a bit of their hair around a finger. I love to read aloud as those quickly growing boys sit, so uncharacteristically quiet, their gleaming eyes unseeing, the sweat in their hair drying, a smudge of dirt on their cheeks. I love to come to a moment of action, hearing their indrawn breath, catching the glances they throw at each other.
Most of all, I love to come to the end of a chapter, hearing them groan and complain as I place my bookmark in the pages that I am closing.
I love “Read Aloud”.
I hope that it is never subjected to a rubric, or lost to a misguided desire to teach them to read “at their own level.”