Ok, claiming a Favorite Read Aloud might be a bit of a stretch because I have many favorite read alouds but Gooseberry Park by Cynthia Rylant has many things I just love about it to earn this title.
1. It's my favorite WINTER read aloud. The story takes place during winter time and an ice storm presents some pretty big challenges for the characters.
2. It's my favorite LENGTHIER read aloud. Unfortunately, with schedule changes and time over the years I tend to shy away from lengthier read alouds. However, the chapters in this book are short enough to finish when you have a few minutes and also allows you to read more if you have the time and the students are begging for more.
3. Student ENGAGEMENT is high! As I already mentioned my students beg for more of this story because the characters are interesting, funny, and tug at our hearts. You'll meet Kona the dog, Stumpy the squirrel, Murray the bat, and Qwendolyn the hermit crab, along with Professor Albert. Yes, this is an interesting combination of animals to create a story with.
4. Student's INTERACTION is positive. You know you have a great read aloud when student's sit leaning forward at the carpet, laughing, and sighing at all the right places. Their smiles and glistening eyes tell you they are hooked and reading this book was a great decision. We can't forget to observe body language as a formative assessment piece.
5. I was shocked to learn this book was published in 1995! It's twenty years old and I hadn't read it aloud since I taught third grade and remember my students loving it back then. This just reminds me with all the new and wonderful books being published, we can't forget some of the great ones we have used in the past. This was the perfect book to spend more time with as we eased back into learning from winter break.