In Part 3, I jumped right into what children need most and what I do best, reading aloud. Setting up a YouTube channel gave them stories every day. It was also a constant. Then, we challenged children with art, scavenger hunts, plus math and science activities. We encouraged children to send us photos of what they were doing, and also how they responded to our challenges. They loved it. The pictures flowed, and that opened the door to writing back and forth with children.
When there is a pandemic or a crisis of any kind, we all grab onto what is near and dear to us. Routine and familiar events and faces that we take for granted suddenly become incredibly important. For children this is magnified, and perhaps their one and only lifeline.
As a teacher, I know this all too well.
The constant I can give children is chapter reading, picking up where we left off at school and never letting that drop. Never. From page 53 in Little House in the Big Woods, I have continued reading every single school day.
We finished the book, and on Zoom we asked children if they wanted to hear a new book, or the next adventure with Laura and Mary. Hands down, they wanted the next book in the series. I think they needed that, wanted that.
And so, I have started reading aloud Little House on the Prairie. My goodness, in between the two books I pulled out maps to show children the long journey from Wisconsin to Kansas. Rivers played an important part in the book, so my geography lessons with maps were included.
Last week I read perhaps the most heartfelt chapter, ‘Crossing the Creek’. Did I cry? You bet I did! It is powerful. My favorite blog post, ‘The Boy Who Cried Tears of the Heart’ is all about reading this chapter to children.
The following chapter, ‘Camp on the High Prairie’, is a must to understand what happens next. Yes, I cried. Dog lovers cry.
For those of you who enjoyed hearing me read aloud The Poet’s Dog and asked me to read aloud more, I hope you enjoy these two powerful chapters. Jack the dog in this story is as wonderful as Teddy the dog.
Reading aloud is a warm blanket for children. It is also a source of inspiration, adventure, and escape. As the weeks go by in school with distance learning, we will have great activities for the children. Yet, everything is grounded in what they know and love, chapter reading.
Stay safe and stay well. Reading rocks!