For my read aloud I read Louanne Pig in the Mysterious Valentine by Nancy Carlson to Tina Gwyn’s kindergarten class. This book is about a pig named Louanne who receives a valentine in her mailbox but, it is addressed from a secret admirer. She only has one clue about who sent it, she knows the person has a green pen because that is the color of the signature on the valentine. Louanne is determined to find out who sent it, so she spends her day snooping around hoping to find someone who owns a green pen. Eventually she goes to their town store and gets another hint; the person who bought it has a curly tail.
In the end Louanne does not figure out who sent it but, if the students pay close attention to the pictures they will notice her dad has a green pen in his pocket and has a curly tail! Before I introduced the book, I started by asking them a couple questions. The first question I asked was if they knew when Valentine’s Day was. I received lots of answers like, “Tuesday”, “July”, “next week”, and finally I called on someone who said “February 14th”. I received a wide range of answers every time I asked a question, some right and some wrong. However, when I asked if they were having a Valentine’s Day party I was met with a chorus of yeses.
I then started to introduce the book by relating it to their party. I told the students that in this book someone receives a Valentine, just like they would get during their party, but it was signed by her secret admirer I then introduced the book by telling them the title, and the author/illustrator, Nancy Carlson. Next, I showed the students a few pages and told them to pay close attention to the picture so they could figure out the ending. After that the students were settled so I started the story. I was a little nervous while reading, but I am pretty happy with the way it turned out; since it was my first read aloud in front of a class.
However, I did take a class last semester, and I was required to conduct a read aloud to my classmates. This was a great way to practice how to do a read aloud correctly, so I really benefited from this because Thad already practiced the correct way to do a read aloud. In this class we learned stuff like how to properly hold the book, when it is appropriate to ask questions and how to effectively switch between eve contact with the kids and reading th e book without messing up. These are all small things but they have a big impact when preforming a read aloud.
During my read aloud with Tina Gwyn’s class I was able to do those things well, as well as the more obvious things like: volume, pitch and pace. I was a little worried about some of these things, but overall I think ended up doing well. When reading aloud to the students I kept thinking I was reading too fast because of how quickly the time went by. Though, when I went back and listened to the recording, I had a really good pace and the book took up the same amount of time I expected it to- I timed myself reading before picking the book, to make sure it was an appropriate length- it was about 5 minutes.
When listening to the recording | also noticed that, my volume was really good. As I read I was sure to keep my voice loud but not over the top. Also, all the students were great listeners which means there were no side conversations, so I was not trying to talk over anyone. This made it easier for me to be able to know what my volume is, because could hear myself and nothing else. My pitch was a lot better than I expected and I thought it was defiantly a strong point of my read aloud.
When I was reading what Louanne was saying, my pitch was great because most of the book was here speaking and I had practiced reading a lot. Also, I was really good at sounding like the different characters. For example, Louanne’s dad would talk, and I would make my voice low and masculne to sound more like a typical dad would. The same thing happened when I was speaking like a different character; my voice had a wide range of different sounds and tones to keep the children listening and to sound more like the actual character.
My tone was pretty good, and I did a good job matching the tone to fit the pitch. My strongest behavior had to be how well I kept the students engaged. From the time I sat down and introduced myself to when I got up to leave I kept the kids engaged very well. The questions at the beginning really helped to settle children and they were excited for the book because I asked them about their Valentine’s Day party and they were already excited for that so the book having a Valentine’s Day theme really got them excited and they were ready to listen.
When I read the book I really did well with the pitch and was sure all the students could see the pictures so during the book they were always looking at the pictures, that and I told them to pay attention to the pictures to figure out who was Louanne’s secret admirer. I was also sure to do good facial expressions when I read as well as body gesture. However, I was aware of how often I did them, because I wanted the students to pay the most attention to the book and the pictures, not me.
When I was done reading the students were all eager to answer the question of who the secret admirer was and they knew I would only call on them if they were quiet and had their hand raised which led to them all being on their best behavior. They also wanted to answer the other questions so they kept their good behavior. My other strongest behavior was my pitch. I got the book days early so I constantly practiced the different voices of the characters. Louanne was the character who had the most lines so I was really good at her voice and since Louanne is a girl pig, it was early for me to do her voice.
Then I had to practice the other characters voice and payed special attention to the male voices because I knew those would be harder for me to do. Then after vigorous practice I was able to get the voices of each character how I want and I knew when to stress or exaggerate the voices depending on what was going on. For example, when Louanne gets excited when she first receives her Valentine card, I make sure my voice sounds excited. My pitch was really great for each character and the kids seemed to enjoy it, too.
One of my weaknesses was that, I felt like I should have taken more time to explain things better. For example at the beginning of the story I told the students the title and the author and illustrator. I wish I would have taken more time to ask the students what an author and illustrator was, just so I knew that they for sure understood. Also when I was asking them questions about Valentine’s Day I should have asked them what it is, not just when it is. I feel like going into more detail would have befitted the students that are a bit more behind than the others.
My other weak behavior would have to probably be, how I ended the read aloud. I do not think I did awful, but it was sort of awkward. Once I was done reading, I made sure it was clear that I was done because I said, “and that is the story of Louanne Pig in the Mysterious Valentine. ”. Though, after that I had closing questions and used had them come up and draw questions from the question wands that Tina Gwyn let me use. Though, after the last question, it was a little awkward. I wish I could have come up with a good closing statement or good closing question for the students.
So overall I had a strong introduction and thought I did well doing the read aloud but, my closing needed some work. I think much of my success with this relates to how well the book matched the student’s interest. Since it was so close to Valentine’s Day the students were beyond excited to have their party and get Valentines. Reading a Valentine’s Day book just added to the excitement! The student’s attention spans were great, and they probably could have sat through a longer book but, I am glad I did not do too long of a book, just in case they would not of had great attention spans.