This morning I had my first Read Aloud session with Mrs. Landon’s class at Weberwood Elementary. It’s a third-fourth grade split classroom. Last year it was all third graders. I was delighted to see some fourth graders I remember fondly from last year. They remembered me, too, smiling, waving, and making me feel right at home. Oh, how I love reading to these kids!
It’s especially meaningful to be reading at Weberwood, where my son attended grade school. As I walk through the front door, I feel like I’ve gone back in time. It looks, sounds, and smells so familiar. The same woman sits at the secretary’s desk; the librarian, too, is the same. As children move through the hall, I expect to see my son and his little friends smiling, giggling, and trying to walk in a straight line. Wasn’t it just a few years ago I was regularly stopping by for birthday lunches, classroom parties, and parent-teacher conferences? I typeset the school newsletter and faithfully attended every Halloween parade, Christmas concert, and spring carnival. Sigh. Nineteen years have passed since Britain first walked through those doors.
I wonder if all that remembering influenced my choice of books: The Indian In The Cupboard series. I love to indulge in the fantasy of time travel! I read the first book last year and hope to read the second and third books this year, maybe even the fourth, if I don’t miss any weeks.
Reading to this classroom once a week for about 30 minutes is such a joy. I love the way they listen, ask questions, and beg me to keep reading. They titter when I read forbidden words like “shut up,” “stupid” or “jerk.” They especially love learning the British English words from the books and then trying them out on their parents.
I’m so grateful I signed up as a reader. I look at those eager, smiling faces and I remember how very special this time is in a child’s life. The world is still predictable and mostly safe. In this school, the children’s problems are small and their questions are easily answered. It’s a pleasure to pour love and caring into their open hearts and offer them a gift that can last a lifetime: a love for books and reading.