This week I celebrate the magic of a last minute read aloud shared on Friday afternoon. Sometimes the mix is so very right: the perfect book, the right time, the ideal energy and a room full of eager listeners who notice everything.
Our afternoon started with finishing a picture book about residential schools and serious journal style reader responses. We had a little time to read more of our novel and then at 2 p.m. we headed out to skip with the whole school. There was music, dancing, skipping ropes everywhere and many moments of joy.
We came back to class with 15 minutes before the final bell. Everyone was hot, happily tired and still full of positive energy from our time outside playing together as an entire school.
I decided this was the perfect amount of time to share This is Sadie written by Sara O’Leary and illustrated by Julie Morstad. This book arrived in the mail yesterday and as soon as I read it, I popped it into my school bag because I knew it must be shared.
Sadie is enchanting. She embraces life – both the real and the imagined parts with gusto. Creative, inspired, endearing. Her story is a delight to read aloud. Morstad’s images are “ooh” and “ahh” and “wow” inducing. The combination is pure read aloud perfection.
Every page was pored over – especially the picture of the pool where Sadie swims with her friends – both neighbours from up the street and characters who inhabit her world of books. Here is my class character spotting.
“Oh! I see Red Riding Hood!”
There is a beautiful image of Sadie howling with wolves at the edge of a lush green forest. The text reads: “She has been a boy raised by wolves.”
“That would be the best life,” commented one child. And a conversation about howling and wild creatures and lots of freedom erupted. Many pages required us to stop and discuss the ideas and the images.
When I finished reading, there was a request to be the first person to read the book independently.
“Would anyone else like to read this by themselves next week?”
“Yes!” “Me!” “Not next week, now!”
It was a minute before 3 p.m. when we finished. I asked if anyone would share a reason they liked the book or a favourite part. Most of the class stayed on the carpet waiting their turn to tell me their feelings.
“One word: Imagination!”
“It’s a book loving book.”
“It takes me away to my imagination.”
“It has such beautiful art.”
“I like how it had the fairytales in it.”
“Like something from heaven.”
“It takes you on a fairy journey.”
“On a beautiful path of imagination!”
“I love it because I am Sadie.”
“I have a little piece of Sadie in me.”
“I have a BIG piece of Sadie in me.”
I had some Sadie fans that didn’t want to leave at all! This little reader stayed behind to hold the book in her hands and tell me about how she MUST have her own copy!
I celebrate Friday afternoon read alouds that spill into after school time – how I love that this weekend, Sadie is following my students home.
Thank you to Ruth Ayres and the #celebratelu community! Being part of a community that regularly shares gratitude and celebrations truly transforms my weeks.