November 16, 2011

Hands-on literature...

Walk the World’s Rim by Betty Baker was the first of many books I will read aloud to my younger kids this school year. The characters move from place to place with great frequency in this fictionalized account of the Spanish exploration of the New World in the 1500’s, as both the title and the topic would imply.  This made the story somewhat difficult for my kids to follow at times.  As we neared the end of the book the travel rate of our characters seemed to increase, as did the confusion among my listeners. That was when I decided once again to enlist the help of some dogs, cats, monkeys, bears, and assorted other fine actors.
The kids cast each of the characters with stuffed animals whose “personalities” were similar.  This allowed for discussion of what each of our characters were like.  Then they moved the animals from place to place as I read aloud, helping them understand the plot details more fully as they created each new scene.  The only difficult moment was the death of a beloved character, played nicely by a gorilla.  It was tough to see him lie there, lifeless.
We’ve left the 1500’s behind and are now reading another work of historical fiction, this time set just before the American Revolution:  Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes.  Not only have we cast each of the roles, but each stuffed animal is in costume and some are even holding props.  From this point forward I will see John Hancock as a large frog, Paul Revere a furry monkey, and the fictional title character of this classic novel a diminutive bulldog with a very large three-cornered hat.

1 comment:

  1. Walk the World's Rim is a bit of a difficult read. They'll love Johnny Tremain! (You've probably already read it to Scott, right?) Wonderful book.