May is an incredibly hectic month in school, and as a result, I’m not getting much reading or posting done after work. But I am enjoying reading during the day with my students, so thought I’d do a post this week about my “daytime reading!”
Charlotte’s Web is our new read-aloud in my 2nd grade classroom. Of course, many of my students had heard it before, and most of them have seen the most recent movie. But none of them objected to listening to it again, so we are all immersed in one of the most beautifully written and tender stories of all times, and we’re loving every minute of it!
The children and I have talked a lot about how an author uses descriptive words to paint pictures in our minds. E. B. White was a master “painter!” I wanted my students to become more aware of that important part of reading, so I had them close their eyes and listen to the following very descriptive passages from Charlotte’s Web. Afterwards, and with their eyes open now, we read it again trying to pay extra close attention to all the details Mr. White had put into his description … because we were then going to draw and color what we pictured. The kids asked for one more reading (most of them wanted to listen with their eyes closed again), and then I sent them back to their seats to work on their “visualization”. Here’s a copy of the passage I read to them, followed by some wonderful examples of what they imagined…
“The barn was very large. It was very old. It smelled of hay … It smelled of the perspiration of tired horses and the wonderful sweet breath of patient cows … It smelled of grain and of harness dressing and of axle grease and of rubber boots and of new rope … It was full of all sorts of things that you find in barns: ladders, grindstones, pitchforks, monkey wrenches, scythes, lawn mowers, snow shovels, ax handles, milk pails, water buckets, empty grain sacks, and rusty rat traps. It was the kind of barn that swallows like to build their nests in. It was the kind of barn that children like to play in.”