- What is the book from your childhood you can't wait to share with a child and why?
The most vivid memory of listening to a story was in second grade. My teacher, Mrs. D, a first year teacher, read to us The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Our whole class couldn't wait to hear more each day. The descriptions of the characters and setting were so vivid that we were able visualize even as second graders. Every time I hear the title of this book I think of one of favorite teachers of all time, Mrs. D.
I can't wait to share this book with my daughter. She is currently 4 years old (almost 5) and I am itching to pull this off the book shelf. However, I am waiting for just the right time. I am very blessed that she loves to read and be read to. She can comprehend at very high level, especially with an accompanying movie. We have successfully read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl and are currently working on James and Giant Peach. We read up to a certain point and then watch that part of the movie. We continue until we have completed the book and movie. I believe the visual of the movie helps with listening comprehension. We are able to discuss differences in the movie and the book which is higher level thinking skill.
- Who is the person who influenced you most as a reader?
I wasn't much of a reader when I was younger. I remember my dad bringing home the Hardy Boys for us to read together when I was in first grade because my teacher thought I needed work on fluency. I learned to love Hardy Boys and would frequently purchase the books through the Scholastic Book Club. Additionally, my mom was always taking me to the library too. But, I wouldn't say I ever loved reading. I much rather would have been outside playing football or baseball.
Besides Mrs. D in second grade I really didn't have a teacher growing up that was passionate about instilling the love of reading. The teachers I had were good at other things, but no one teacher jumps out as influencing me as a reader.
Therefore, I would have to say going to college and studying to be an elementary teacher was most influential to me as a reader. It was at Walsh University in North Canton, Ohio that I learned to love reading. I loved coming up with extension activities for picture books. It was almost an obsession for me to find out how to make the book come alive and extend from the pages. It was when I started teaching that I decided to really take it to the next level by highlighting an author's birthday every week in my classroom. I made up a bulletin board in the my classroom and titled it "Happy Birthday Author". Every week I would set out books on the chalkboard to celebrate the authors' birthdays. I also designed daily lessons to reflect the highlighted author and their books.
Experiencing the different writing styles of authors and the different ways of illustrating books throughout the school year helped me develop a love for reading. Now I hope to share that love with everyone through my blog happybirthdayauthor.com.
- Do you have any special reading-time rituals for reading aloud with kids?
At our house we read before nap/quiet times and at bed time. It is a perfect way to wind down and spend time together. I have always found it crucial to have new books on hand for this reading time so we frequent the library weekly and pick up dozens of books.
Additionally, reading at our house is just a part of the day. There are books in just about every room of our house. There are even books and books on CD in the car. Many times we just stop and read during the day. I try to have books in close proximity to my children at all times.
Note: This article was written as participating post in the Share a Story 2010 online blogging event.