Tuesday, January 15, 2013
May I read them a book?
His teacher suggested he spend a little time with the Big Cats, while his classmates finished up the test.
This is one of the silver linings of a preschool embedded within an elementary school, having older students come and visit us.
We were just getting ready for Storytime.
He asked if he could read the preschoolers a book,
"I could read this one," he said,
finding one of our recent favorites, Jeremy Draws a Monster (by Peter McCarty).
I was delighted with his offer. I knew it would be wonderful for the children to have an older student read to them. "Oh, the children love that book! Yes, that would be great! You read to them first, and then we'll follow you with our special book of the day."
He sat down in the reading chair and all the children quickly arranged themselves at his feet.
He began to read, holding the book to face the children and reading the words upside down.
He was, truly, a teacher.
I was amazed at how transfixed the children were by his reading. There were none of the usual side conversations; instead, all eyes on Declan.
The children were fabulous listeners. As this familiar story continued, one preschooler couldn't contain himself any longer and blurted out "He's going to make the monster go away!" and, the floodgates opened and everyone started sharing at once, wanting to tell Declan what they remembered from this favorite tale.
Declan stopped reading. He stared at the preschoolers. Then, he slowly, without a word, closed the book, with his fingers stuck inside as a placeholder.
This caught me so off guard - this perfect imitation of a teacher. I had to turn my head, to hide my smile and stifle my laughter at this delight.
Yes, he was, truly, a teacher.
"He closed the book!" one preschooler said, in alarm.
"Stop talking!" another exclaimed.
"Read more! There's more!" one couldn't resist.
Declan stared back, saying nothing.
The children went quiet.
Assured that they were listening, he opened the book and proceeded to finish the tale.
Oh, how I struggled not to guffaw!
Later, he came up to me and said, "Ms. Ingram, let me share a technique I learned in my class - when Ms. Coleman thinks we are talking too much, she closes the book until we are quiet. Did you see how it worked with these kids, too?"
I nodded and smiled (once more, resisting the urge to laugh aloud with sheer delight),
"That is a very good technique. Thank you for sharing it with me. It is very hard to read aloud when others are talking, isn't it?
Thank you for reading to the children, today. You, Declan, are truly a teacher. "