I wrote mine down, but never had a chance to explain them. I think that celebrating reading aloud experiences never goes out of style, so, John, here they are!
Top read aloud experiences in sixty seconds:
Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver
by E.L. Konigsburg
One summer about 11 years ago, my two young children and I were staying with my parents. I was reading this book aloud to them at night. By the third night, my parents had joined the group. For the next few days, our days began and ended with a three generation read aloud. This experience started a long tradition of multi-generation family read alouds continuing today with my now college age children.
Lions of Little Rock
by Kristin Levine
I wrote about this experience back in January, so will shorten it here, but my father fell and suffered a brain bleed. Five long days in the hospital were spent reading and rereading this book. It was so poignant because both my parents were very active in the Civil Rights Movement. This well-written, well-researched very engaging book prompted moving discussions about my parents' life at the time: the events they experiences and the people they knew. I will never forget sitting by my father's bedside with my mother, needing this book to help make things right. It wasn't just the three of us, my father's nurse's got engrossed in the story as well, which created a bond and opened a space for friendship.
I can remember my mother reading this book to me and then pouring over the pages again and again. This book is here because I was also able to read it aloud to my own children and see the same response in them.
Jasmine's Parlour Day
My now eighteen year old son asked me recently if I had ever found a recipe for sugar cakes. I knew instantly to what he was referring. This was one of his favorite books when he was young - he would pull it off the shelf in preschool and we would read it over and over. When I was in graduate school, I met a student from Trinidad who brought back sugar cakes for us. I love that he is holding onto this book somewhere in his psyche
Tiger Who Came to Tea
This book is all about English sensibilities. My daughter loved this book. For a two year period, I think I read this book more than any other. I loved reading it because I could add fun English accents and really ham it up, but what I really loved was my daughter's attachment to this book and her attachment to the characters in the book.
I was not there for one particular read aloud experience but it goes on my list because I wish I had been there. In the story, there is a fox that wants to eat some ducks and they outsmart him. He eventually leaves, after being humiliated, and says "stupid ducks" and they retort "stupid fox." Well, up until my children were 3 and 5, I replaced the word stupid with silly. My mother was babysitting one night, being the early childhood educator and honest forthright person she is, she read the book word for word. She said that Nicholas' eyes grew to the size of saucers as he asked, "Does it really say stupid?" Ha! I had been caught!
It's Winnie-the-Pooh. That is really enough said, but I will add to this by sharing that I started reading this book to my children when I was nursing. Probably too much information, but we read and reread and reread this book over and over again. I credit Christopher Robin as the inspiration for the many adventures my children had with just a cardboard box and their imaginations.
Chronicles of Narnia
When my son was 6 or 7, we sat down and read the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe series cover to cover. I read from the books I had carried with me from my childhood home. I loved sharing his enjoyment of the series and eagerness to get right back to reading as soon as school and work were over.
While going back and writing this post I thought of so many more like Blueberries for Sal, Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Whistle for Willie, but I am sticking with John's rules.
I also decided to stay on the family environment, instead of my school environment. There are some stellar read aloud moments there, but this challenge felt more personal.
Note: I did not have a school library or library teacher until I hit seventh grade, at which point we only went to the library to learn about the classification system and use the card catalog to find books for research projects. Sad, I know. I so love how I spend each day at my school.