Stacey Loscalzo

Feb 24

Kate DiCamillo on Reading Aloud

by Stacey

I have loved Kate DiCamillo for a long, long time. This weekend, I loved her even more than I had before.

Her PSA, “On the Importance of Read Aloud” popped up over and over again on Facebook and on blogs that I love like Read, Write and Reflect.

She reminded each of us of how important it is to read to your children. It doesn’t matter whether you are a parent or a teacher. Just read. DiCamillo talked with great detail about her second grade teacher who read The Island of the Blue Dolphins. She know this time spent reading with her class and her teacher contributed to her wish to be an author. And she says this even though she grew up in a house surrounded by books and a mother who read out loud to her.

I feel the same way. While my parents read each and every night, I also know my favorite part of fourth grade was when we all laughed aloud listening to my teacher reading Blubber. And I remember falling in love with my new school when my fifth grade teacher read aloud from Tuck Everlasting.

Read aloud, be it in a family or in a classroom, contributes to literacy development for sure but it also builds a community. Our school launched a One Book, One School initiative this year and all families were given a copy of The World According to Humphrey. The other day, a friend told me how much her children now love Humphrey and how they have read many more books about their favorite classroom rodent. Later in our conversation, she said something three times in typical Humprhey fashion and we both laughed. We got the inside joke because we had read the same book.

There is something incredibly powerful about reading in community and I do hope that the read aloud message stays alive in families and in schools. I am nervous watching my children grow and seeing read aloud time fading from their classrooms. I haven’t heard of it at all in Caroline’s middle school classrooms and the read aloud time even in Katherine’s third grade classroom seems pretty limited.

Hopefully, this year will be an anomaly for the girls and reading aloud will feature again in their classroom lives. In the meantime, we’ll keep reading at home especially with powerful reminders like the one I listened to this weekend.

7 Comments

  1. Kristen says:

    Love Kate. And reading aloud! Thanks for sharing that clip, Stacey.

  2. Dana says:

    I absolutely agree with you and with the wonderfully talented and passionate Kate DiCamillo. My family adored the Mercy series.

    One of the highlights of my month is when I go to my daughter’s first grade class as guest reader. The past two times I’ve read Clementine, personal favorite of myself and my girl, and the kids LOVE it. I get so much out of reading to them, and lately I’ve been wanting to do more, or figure out ways to make reading aloud something that doesn’t go away the moment kids learn how to do it themselves. I’d love to start a movement, a group that advocates this (though their may be one already).

    • Stacey says:

      We love Clementine here too! She is just so funny! There’s a new one coming out in March. I can’t wait! And I always talk about wanting to start a movement too. I have said for years that I want to be the next Jim Trelease. Have you read his book, The Read Aloud Handbook? It is my all time favorite along with Mem Fox’s Reading Magic. There is also a great podcast called Read Aloud Revival that I really like although she and her family only read the classics and the girls and I seem to prefer more current titles. So I love her podcasts for the philosophy but not so much for the titles. 

      • Dana says:

        We are literally counting down the days until the latest Clementine. What I love so much (besides the hilarity, fantastic prose, and Clem) is how much our whole family loves reading it together. My husband and I fight over who gets to read the next chapter. It’s pretty funny and wonderful. 

        I’m ALL about starting a movement about reading aloud. It breaks my heart that people stop reading to kids as they get older, when that is one of the best times to do so. When I see the excitement of the kids in my daughter’s class, asking me when I’m coming back to read, and if we can continue Clementine, it gives me such joy and pleasure. Hearing Kate DiCamillo talk about how crucial her second grade teacher’s reading aloud was to her, even coming from a family of read aloud-ers, makes me want to get in every classroom of every grade and read read read. 

        Anyway. Clearly it’s a passion of mine 🙂 And yours!

      • Dana says:

        Oh, and thank you for those book recs! Will check them out. Have a Mim Foxs book but not that one.

        Also, I am into both classics and contemporary books, and my daughter prefers the latter, so I’m all about mixing it up and tailoring it to what makes my children excited.

  3. Pamela says:

    Reading aloud is magical. Thank you for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.