Sunday, June 20, 2010

Reading Practice

I've decided that since my book is coming out soon, I'd better practice reading to kids. I mean, I know how to read to kids, I do it every day. But reading to large groups is different. There are more eyes that need to see the pictures, more mouths asking questions, more wiggling bodies, more minds to keep entertained.

Every year I help behind the scenes with the Summer Reading Program at the library, but this year I'm stepping it up. This year I'm doing the reading. I've done two readings so far to around 40 kids and 20 adults each time. I was surprised by the volume I was able to raise my reading voice to so that everyone could hear. I did not die when I got up in front of everybody. Actually, I wasn't even nervous. Pretty good for a girl who would rather not get a dipolma than take the required public speaking class. I'm still a little befuddled on what to do when all the kids want to talk at once. And what to do when the parents are louder than the kids, making it hard to hear the story. But, I'll get the hang of it.(Advice is welcome!)

So now, I've been asked to write a proposal for a library tour. I'm going to have to think of lots of fun things to do. It's one thing for people to be coming to the Summer Reading Program for the program. It's a whole other thing for people to be coming to see me. Hopefully I can figure out a library tour that will be a monstrously good time for all and build on the confidence I've attained from my summer's worth of reading practice.


  1. Practice reading your book upside down, which is to say hod a picture book on your lap facing outwards and read the text. The lift the book and show it to your imagined audience. Turn the page. Make eye contact. Continue.

    If you already knew this, forgive me.

  2. Shall we pretend I was typing upside down? "hold a picture book" "Then lift the book"

    I'm happy for you.

  3. Thanks Blythe. I can read upside down. I read that way to my kids a lot. Sometimes we have upside down storytime where we hold the books upside down. I have done a bit of reading as you suggested at the SRP. I find it a little harder to do with all the kids and excitement going on, but I'm certainly going to work on it. Hopefully I'll get the hang of it. Thanks so much for the advice! And yes, I think typing upside down is much harder than reading upside down. You did a pretty good job. ;-)

  4. I suggest you keep reading A Fuse 8 Production. She's a children's librarian and is doing a series of videos on her blog about storytime and presenting stories. (in between her book reviews and news about the children's book publishing world -- authors and editors). Her blog is at

    Also, go observe a lot of children's librarians doing sotrytime. Some will be great and some will be awful. But you'll learn techniques of presentations.

    My own storytelling technique is to hold the picturebook to my left with doublespread pages open facing the children. I turn my head, grab the lines with my eyes, turn and face the audience and tell what I had just read. with emotion. That pause while you are grabbing the words with your eyes may seem like an hour of silence to you, but your child audience won't notice. They'll be too busy absorbing the pictures during the (actual) half second that you take to do this.

    Do NOT move the book from this position while you turn the pages. the kids still want to see the pictures! not the side or back of the book.

    Try to turn the page from the bottom, so that your arm doesn't cover up their view of the pictures.

    Have fun. enjoy. -wendieO

  5. Wow! Thanks so much, Wendie! I tried to make sure I turned the page from the bottom today when I read. For some reason that one really stuck in my mind. I still need to work on my word grabbing, but I'm definitely improving!