I’m excited to become a facilitator for several Literary Masters reading groups. As a child, I was a voracious reader. My mother took me to the public library regularly where I would always check out a big stack of books. I read by flashlight when I was supposed to be sleeping, and I hid novels inside my textbooks during class. My mother and grandmother, both school teachers, were fantastic oral readers and delighted me and my siblings with their dramatic interpretations.
As a second and fourth grade teacher for 28 years at Ross Elementary School, reading aloud to my students and running reading groups were two of my favorite teaching activities. For quite a few years my nickname was “Boo Hoo Q” because I would cry so often while reading to my students. I remember in my first year of teaching that I was thrilled to find a copy of David and the Phoenix by Edward Ormondroyd in our school library, a book I had loved reading as a child. I made the mistake of not rereading the book before reading it aloud to my second graders. When I got to the climax, I didn’t just choke up, I burst out in sobs! Another time I was reading The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes to my students. I had just gotten to a part that so impacted me that I couldn’t continue reading aloud when the school psychologist popped her head into the classroom and witnessed my emotional display. Luckily, she didn’t write me off as a nutcase but quickly volunteered to take my place as the reader.
Running reading groups in fourth grade was such a wonderful opportunity to get to know my students more deeply and to encourage them to interact with me and their classmates with respect and encouragement. I look forward to exploring our feelings, thoughts, and ideas about the books we read in Literary Masters groups.