Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reading aloud

One of the most important elements of reading aloud is how the words actually sound when reading them aloud. Because that’s what we do, isn’t it? We read the words aloud to our kids, because they can’t read them for themselves. (And because even when they can read for themselves, it's still lovely to listen to a story.) If the words don’t sound wonderful and interesting and entertaining to us, then we are not going to convey that excitement to our audience.

So this is an example of one of my favourite read-aloud books - “Tiger Can’t Sleep” by S. J. Fore. It makes me laugh so I exaggerate the frustrated voice of the little boy and the repentant voice of the tiger. This book calls out for loud, noisy shouts as well as quiet, soft whispers. Tom found this book at the library a few years ago, and we bought it for his birthday because he requested it so frequently.

The little boy in the story has just settled down to sleep in his comfortable bed but he

… can’t sleep because there’s a tiger in my closet … a tiger in my closet eating potato chips!

Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!

The tiger is most apologetic when the little boy tells him he is making too much noise, but this excitable tiger forgets to be quiet, so the noises continue all night – cartwheel spinning, tuba playing, bouncing a ball and so on.

It makes us smile to observe the way the little boy takes on the role of the adult –

And no more cartwheels! You are going to hurt yourself.

The tiger is the mischievous kid, full of good intentions but just unable to stop having fun and making noise.

Oops! Tiger is sorry. Tiger won’t make another sound.

Now, here’s a fancy word for you – onomatopoeia. (I did have to check my dictionary for the correct spelling, and I'm not entirely sure I know how to pronounce it!) Onomatopoeic words are formed by imitating sounds. So in our tiger book, we have the tiger eating chips – “Crunch! Crunch! Crunch!” He also does “Tap–tap! Tap-tap! Tap-tap!” as he tap dances in the closet.

So, you can explain the meaning of onomatopoeia to your kids if you want to or you can just use lots of emphasis and exaggeration when reading out these sounds!

1 comment:

  1. Now I can tell T what all those 'big, loud' words are called...he always asks what they say. Now if only I could pronounce it as well! KLH