Slice of Life Day 24: Read Aloud Today and Yesterday


The month of March I am blogging daily with others at Two Writing Teachers. You can read more slices here.


Read aloud is one of my favorite parts of my teaching life. It’s a time when my students rush to the carpet. When they beg for more when we have to stop. When I get to discover things alongside them.

I wonder what they will remember when they are my age — about this fifth grade year. Will they remember the books we read or perhaps the feeling they have when we read?

Thinking back to my fifth grade year I remember I loved my teacher. She was blond and I thought she really liked me.

My desk was a perfect hideaway. I shared it with no one. I could lift up the top to find all of my things hiding inside. My chair was attached to my desk and was in the back of the class, middle row. The boy who sat directly in front of me always had perfectly sharpened Ticonderoga pencils that were about three inches long. The erasers were always perfect. I imagined he made no mistakes.

I remember the state report I wrote on Mississippi and the report on Abraham Lincoln. I remember seeing my beautiful teacher at a store and thinking how embarrassing that was.

But what I remember most of all about fifth grade was read aloud after lunch.

Our read aloud wasn’t the interactive sort, where you participate and the teacher shows you how they think as they read. It wasn’t the kind where you turned and talked (we didn’t talk) or jot in a notebook. I’m sure I had no clue as to what a “jot” about reading was. Read aloud for us was probably meant to get us to relax and cool off after running around at lunch recess.  I doubt it was meant to be “purposeful”.  I remember many times when I would put my face down on the cool surface of my desk and drift off to the words that swirled around me. Read aloud was a time to get lost in story. The book choices I don’t remember, except for one: Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer.

It was Christmas time. I was at the moment when you start to question a little bit because it doesn’t quite make sense. I had suspicions of the truth, but I ignored them because I wasn’t ready to let go.

That December day I was sitting in the back of the room, listening to Rudolf. The story put me in that comfortable place of believing. Day dreaming, I opened up my desk lid and found my crayon box. I sat there with the lid tilted up covering my face. I pulled out a red crayon.  I set the lid down and placed my crayon on that indentation at the top of the desk that keeps your pencil from rolling down. I stretched my arms forward toward the red crayon and put my head down, listening to the story of Rudolf, an underdog who become the hero. Somehow my red crayon found its way into my hand, and I drew with my red crayon, on my nose. Yes I was Rudolf.  I don’t remember being embarrassed or anyone making fun. But I do remember realizing what I was doing in the midst of it. Perhaps my teacher saw and made it so I wasn’t embarrassed. I don’t remember.

What I do remember is the feeling of read aloud. It was a very good thing.

If my students remember anything from fifth grade when they are my age, I hope they remember the feeling of read aloud and that it was a very good thing.

Thank you  TaraAnnaDanaStacey,  Betsy  and Beth at Two Writing Teachers for providing and supporting this place to learn and grow.

10 thoughts on “Slice of Life Day 24: Read Aloud Today and Yesterday

  1. Remembering read aloud as a student?!?! In fifth grade?!?! That’s terrific. I love the line, “…I do remember is the feeling of read aloud. ” That’s what I want for my students as well!

  2. I love read alouds too.
    Especially because of a a memory from my 5th grade teacher reading Joan Aikens, The Wolves of Willoby Chase.
    It takes very little for me to remember things about listening to that book at that very moment….like it was yesterday.
    Every time I read to my students, I wish for them to make a memory like you and I’ve made.

  3. I love this slice – partly because I loved read-aloud and can remember the books and the feelings, but also because of your beautiful descriptions of those 5th grade memories.

  4. Read aloud is my favorite part of the day. Way back in 1978 my eight grade teacher read aloud to us. It was fantastic. No one else had a teacher who did that in 8th grade. In retrospect, I think he was setting us up to be lifelong readers because he read all kinds of things, including “The Boy Who Invented the Bubble Gun” out of a reader’s digest condensed version collection! He was one of my favorite teachers of all time. 🙂

  5. Funny – I wrote about read alouds today as well – in my ninth grade class and in Speech class a long time ago! I also love reading aloud to kids now! I guess we all had good models.

  6. I’m sure I’m probably 25 years older than you and you described my fifth grade room, including the desk. Read aloud was the time to get lost in a book, it was always after lunch recess. Caddie Woodlawn was a book I remember loving. As an adult I tried to read it, and it just didn’t have the same magic it did when I was ten. Loved the way you described this memory.

  7. This is such a beautiful post – my at-college ex students remember our readalouds as the best part of their sixth grade year with me. It’s a powerful connection we make through sharing books we love this way.

  8. I love what you wrote, Julieanne. I don’t remember if we had it, but my mother was my teacher in 5th & 6th grade (small town) & she & I certainly read together. As a teacher, I still remember the excitement of finding a book that seemed “just right” for my class at the time. Many shared memories come from those books, conversations too. That ‘feeling’ you mention, it’s the best thing!

  9. Read alouds are a very good thing! Read alouds were always my favorite part of the day when I had my own classroom, and I still love going into classes to read to kids. Thank you for sharing this lovely memory, Julieanne.

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