Stacey Loscalzo

Aug 17

Read Aloud, Interrupted

by Stacey

I must admit that I get giddy when a new issue of The Horn Book magazine arrives in my mail box. With each issue, my wish list of books grows and I learn a little something more about the fascinating world of children’s literature.

This month, I was struck most by a column called “Chicken, Interrupted: The Art of David Ezra Stein”, written by Leonard Marcus detailing the work of David Ezra Stein.

Stein won the2011 Caldecott Honor for his picture book Interrupting Chicken

 

but has also created our most loved

Pouch and

 

 Leaves.

Marcus’ article got me thinking a lot about Stein’s artwork and the way he uses art to tell his story. More importantly though, this article got me thinking about the read aloud. In Interrupting Chicken, a young chicken continually interrupts her father’s reading of a collection of fairy tales . Right in the midst of this story, is the struggle that we, as parents, often feel to finish the book in the face of our child’s desire to interact with the story.

Marcus writes,

“It’s really a book about the experience of reading a story aloud: what can and often does happen when a parent and a child share a book at bedtime and nearly come to blows over their clashing agendas. The little red chicken wants a bedtime story. The father wants his daughter not to interrupt. The dad wants to be a good dad, but he also wants bedtime to be over and done. The child wants to postpone lights-out- but what she wants above all is to get inside the story: be the hero, not the listener, be in charge.”

How many times have I struggled with just this very opposition? I watch the clock tick knowing that overtired girls do not fall asleep quickly. I find myself reading faster and faster and have been known to sigh out loud when someone asks a question or shares a thought about the story. I hope that I catch myself and stop this everytime but I’m sure I don’t.

After reading Marcus’ article, I sure am paying closer attention during bedtime but I am also reminded why I read to the girls througout the day. Sometimes at meal time, sometimes when the bickering starts and every one needs to sit and sift gears, sometimes when it’s raining, sometimes just because it seems like a good time to read.

These are the times when we can all have the same agenda. And having the same agenda sure turns reading into a fun adventure.

 

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