First Read-alouds of the Year

It’s always a big decision- what will I read aloud first? My homeroom is finishing up Flying Solo, our community-building book for the beginning of the year. It’s always a huge hit and this year is no different. However, my afternoon class needed a read-aloud right away because I need to settle them down after lunch. I am almost done with Flying Solo so I didn’t want to start over in the afternoon. Instead, I decided to dive into our first official read-aloud of the year, the book that both classes would read with me. The decision-making process was not an easy one. I want the book to show my kids that reading can be fun and the books can transport you to another world. My kids always start the year with an irrational hatred of reading, so this first book is so important.

My decision? The Underneath. Believe me, I hesitated quite a bit with this one. It’s not the typical action-packed novel I would normally start the year with. It moves slow, like the water in the bayous of its setting. But it’s powerful. And gorgeous. And one of my favorite books of the year. So on Wednesday, my afternoon class settled in for the first 20 pages.

How did it go?

Well, they seem to be loving it! The “twistedness’ of Garface sickened them. They all connected with Ranger and the calico. The idea of trees viewing hundreds or thousands of years of history fascinated them. And Grandmother “creeped” them out. So far, so good! And I know they will enjoy it even more once Puck gets lost. Now I can’t wait to start it with the morning class!

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