This year is off to a great start. Showing the laminator who's boss certainly helped get things going in the right direction. But, I have to say the one thing that has truly made a difference to me this year is our school-wide reading of the book Wonder. I simply cannot say enough about it, and it is all good. Deep down good, warm fuzzy good, jump up and holler good, macaroni and cheese good.

I start off every school day with pure, wide-spread goodness. It is so awesome.

You think I am over-reacting don't you? That's okay, because you don't know the details. Why am I so happy about a school-wide read aloud?

I think it is because I work in a middle school. Do you know how hard it is to impress middle schoolers? With anything? And unfortunately, for the most part, the magic of read-aloud fades away at this level.
There are many reasons for this.

The Wonder Girls 
But, at my school, every morning for twenty minutes, it is story time. And I am a kid again.

And it's magic.

Because so is everyone else.

The story, of course, is great and perfect and powerful. But, I think much of the credit for the success of our particular project goes to the two teachers who are reading to us each morning.

It just so happens that two of the most amazing read-out-loud teachers on the planet work at my school. (pictured)
I begged them to read Wonder for us because I know how incredibly important delivery is when someone is reading aloud. They are doing a phenomenal job. I don't think a day has gone by since we began reading four weeks ago, that someone hasn't said something positive about the read-aloud. It makes my heart sing to hear people say these things. We cry and we laugh. We talk about it at lunch and in the halls.

I am not forgetting the teachers who dutifully follow along with their books in the classrooms. The whole idea would go kaput if they didn't do their part.  ELA teachers are using the book in their lessons. The students are listening and following along. It's all so yummy good.

But wait, there's more! There has been almost no complaining. (Again, unprecedented at the middle school level.) The only down side is that it will end soon. Will we go back to normal SSR?  How can we? We're all  spoiled brats now. I picture teachers and students reading their own books for a minute or two and slamming their book down in disappointment, shaking their heads, wishing for the "storytellers" to re-emerge.

This is probably one of the coolest things I have ever done at school. Ma would be so proud. She would cry if I told her about this. Happy tears. We used to watch Oprah! together and just boo-hoo over all kinds of stuff. Ma would know that Mr. Browne's first precept about choosing kind is from Wayne Dyer whom she loved.

If you've read Wonder you may know the song that August and his dad sing together in the car. "I'm the luckiest guy on the lower east side."

Well, I'm the luckiest girl in the upstate, cause  I've got a story and you want to read for a while.



Lori June said...

I love that your school has found this way of making reading a social activity for your students! I just finished reading Wonder myself, and I'd love to do something similar with our 5th graders. Please continue to update us on your experience!

Mrs. Sommer-Gough said...

This gave me chill bumps! There is NO way to go back to regular SSR. Long live the read-aloud!

Cathy Jo Nelson said...

wishing we would do this at the high school level....so im sharing with my principal. :)