We tested today. Yup. It’s only March 8th and already the MAP testing has begun. My troopers worked on their ipads nearly all morning. Yup. We test on ipads now – ipad minis even. Nope, I don’t like it. I’m 50. I can hardly read the text WITH my cheaters on. But these kids are used to it and they did great. I was proud of their effort. But after lunch, they were melting into the furniture as if it were 110 degrees outside – noodles they were. Spent. I knew our afternoon would not be productive.
Having just the right read aloud is high priority on a day like today.
I decided on The Sons of the Dragon King: A Chinese Legend by Ed Young.
Now this book would not work for every class, but it works for mine for many reasons. I have a lot of readers that LOVE any story with characters that have special powers – we are talking Beast Quest and Percy Jackson fan-city. I can’t keep these books on my shelves. In this legend each of the nine sons has a special power and that hooked my kids, line and sinker, right in my intro.
The second reason my kids loved this book was because it is Traditional Literature. I fully believe we short our kids of good legends, folk tales, fables, trickster tales and especially fairy tales and tall tales. We tend to stop reading these books aloud in the primary grades. It’s all fantasy and much of the literature our kids love as upper elementary students builds on good old Traditional Literature. They listen intently knowing there will be some kind of lesson or moral to the story because they know that these stories were told only orally thousands of years ago to teach children lessons. They crave trying to determine the lesson before the story is finished.
The third reason my kids loved this book is because of the simple pattern. The father tracks down each son, who is basically wasting his time with his special power. With every son, the father finds the perfect life job that allows the son to use their power. My kids wonder and predict what the power is that each son will have, and then what will the job be. Through the whole book they wondered if the last son perhaps will change the pattern of the story. Perhaps will he have no power at all? My kids love pattern. They hang on every page.
This read aloud, with our talk took almost 35 minutes to read. Yes, that’s awhile, but it felt like five minutes and we were surprised that it was already time for music when we finished. For awhile, it was if we were taken away to China, walking in the shoes of a father who was trying to help his sons to what is good for the world. We were lost in the book. Transported. Flow.
We didn’t get much else done today besides a word study sort. And, that’s okay.
For me, a good interactive read aloud is striking it rich and I will savor that all week.
Ahhhh. . . . yes. Thank you, Mr. Ed Young.