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