Day 31: Read To A Class

You might not think that reading to a classroom of kids is nerve-racking. Well, when it’s your first time in front of 10-15 eager, little faces all smiling up at you in anticipation of what they are hoping will be the best school day moment ever, I promise you, it is. Actually, if I’m honest with you, I was nervous before even getting to the school.  Some of the thoughts that were running through my mind: What if the kids don’t like me? What if they don’t like being read to? Should I read the different characters in different voices? Or would that be dumb? Or would I forget what voice I had done for each character? What if I stumble through the words? What if they just talk the whole time I’m reading?

I don’t know why I was so nervous! I love reading aloud and when I babysit, I always try to get the kids to want to read books so I can read to them. I know I am confident about my reading skills and enthusiasm. In fact, Dr. Seuss books are my favorite because I like the challenge of reading all the silly, rhyming, tongue-twisters. And I’m good at it! So why was I so nervous about messing up for these kids?I knew they wouldn’t care, they would just love being read to!

I tried to calm myself down and marched into the school with confidence. Once inside, I immediately felt more at ease. This was where I went to elementary school and even though the building has changed, the few familiar faces and classrooms were a welcoming and nostalgic sight. I was here to read to the kindergarten and second-grade classes, taught by my Aunt Jan and Mrs. Meier, respectively.

The kindergarten class was the first on my list. I came in right after their rest time so some of them were still just waking up. They were adorable in their little uniforms and, although shy at first, they were excited to have a guest in their class and even more excited to read books.  I asked them some questions about their favorite books and immediately found out that this class loved to ask questions and give comments (what kid doesn’t?). Because the kindergarten-level books are rather short, we read three: The Flea’s Sneeze, Tooth Trouble, and a book whose name I can’t remember. I wasn’t sure how it was best to read to a class. When I’m reading to one or two kids, I ask them questions about the story and the pictures and let them make comments throughout. But I could only imagine the fiasco that would arise if I let a group of 10 kids do this! I decided it would be best just to read it straight through, questions later.  I also made sure to hold the books up  and to the side, so they could see the pictures while I read. It’s a good thing I practiced this balancing and eye-straining act on my stuffed-animals earlier. (This last statement may or may not be true ;) Before I knew it, all three books were read, and the kids were ready for more. We talked for a few more minutes, and gosh, I could’ve talked to these kids forever, they just had so much they wanted to share! It’s a good thing I was on a time frame. When we said our goodbyes, one little girl made an extra effort by tapping me on the sleeve and saying, “Thank you Miss Sarah” twice.  So adorable. Now I was off to the second grade.

When I got into the class, they were already waiting, lined up in their chairs, to hear me read. I felt like a celebrity. Except with shorter fans, all dressed in uniforms and under the age of 8.  Mrs. Meier (who was also my teacher in second grade!) had picked out two books for me to choose from: Cook-A-Doodle-Doo and Dr. Seuss’  Better Butter Battle. I let the kids vote on their favorite and was secretly hoping they would pick the Dr. Seuss book, allowing me to enjoy the reading challenge as much as they would enjoy the story. I got my wish. Every kid wanted me to read Dr. Seuss. I told them we could pretend that his birthday was today instead of yesterday, and read it for him. I had never heard of Better Butter Battle and probably enjoyed it as much as the kids.

Next came my favorite moment of the day:

Because the second-graders were a bit older, I explained to them what I was doing for my blog and then asked if they had any suggestions for me. I was interested to hear what they would come up with. Some I thought were quite legitimate: learn a language, visit a different country, go snorkeling.  Others were just amusing to hear: “train a horse not to jump up and be bad”, become a scientist, and  “go up in a plane or helicopter and jump out of it”. I love kids.

Thank you Mrs. Meier and Aunt Jan for sharing your kids with me!

This amazing woman taught me 15 years ago!

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2 Comments on “Day 31: Read To A Class”

  1. Breanne Says:

    I agree with the horse suggestion. I would love to read about you training a horse not to be bad ;)

  2. Chelsea Knechel Says:

    Sarah! Can you read to me sometime?? That would be something new, haha. And I would LOVE it!! :) Good idea here.


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