Thursday, February 1, 2018

Each kindness matters. Celebrating World Read Aloud Day with high schoolers

To celebrate World Read Aloud Day today, I popped into two of our high school's English classes to read aloud picture books. Our students loved the chance to slow down and enjoy a picture book, and they were able to connect their own experiences and dreams to these author's ideas in powerful ways.

I read aloud Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson. Each student knew just how awful Maya felt, as the other kids excluded her. They could relate to her and imagine her anger. It is a difficult book to read, because the narrator, Chloe, is not nice to Maya -- in all of those small ways that ring so true to life.

As we got to the end, our students shifted in their thinking. They weren't just sad or frustrated for Maya, they realized that the author wrote this to show how we have to think about being in Chloe's shoes. How we treat others matters.

Jacqueline Woodson masterfully shows us how each kindness matters. Each small action, whether it's a little smile or an offering of a seat, can make someone feel welcome. And Woodson shows us what happens when we don't make that choice.

To celebrate World Read Aloud Day, Jacqueline Woodson posted a video of her reading aloud this magical story. You'll notice the great big medal she's wearing -- Ms. Woodson has just been appointed as the National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

Many thanks to the team at Lit.World for spreading the word about the power of reading aloud to children. And special thanks to Jacqueline Woodson for her leadership, kindness and support of libraries.

©2018 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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