Reading aloud to children of all ages, is one of my favorite things in the world! I have clear memories of dramatically reading The Monster At The End Of This Book to my littlest sister in the 1970’s, just to hear her belly laugh. My daughter loved to snuggle up to Going On A Bear Hunt and Charlotte’s Web. My son would willingly climb into bed each night if I promised to read Captain Underpants.
Reading aloud not only helps develop stronger vocabulary, increase attention span and create a connection between the written and spoken word, but it helps to inspire readers to imagine the world around them. Reading aloud can also bring you and your reader closer as you talk about the elements and emotional arcs of a story and apply them to your own lives and adventures. Oh, the discussions books can inspire!
With all that in mind, I created virtual read alouds with backstory commentary to help inspire readers imaginations as they open to page one and dive into Cooper and Packrat’s adventure. If you don’t see a beginning or ending read aloud chapter here, drop me an email. If I have time, I will gladly create a personal one for your class.
In January of 2019, I created a virtual read aloud of chapter one from Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest to share with a Florida classroom I was mentoring. When the Covid-19 quarantine hit us in March of 2020, I continued to read aloud from Mystery of the Eagle’s Nest chapter by chapter for students in a Vermont School when my school visit to them cancelled suddenly. In each chapter, I layered commentary on the inspiration behind it, or added photos of my wildlife research, just as I would have if I could have talked to them in person. As I completed each chapter, I shared them with my own students during their remote learning.
Here are chapters one and two from Eagle’s Nest for you to sample. In chapter three, I read within sight of the eagle’s nest that had inspired the story, where I tell viewers the current nesting pair had laid eggs! As I continued to read chapters of Eagle’s Nest through March, April and May, I reported to viewers on the behavior and status of the real-time eagle family. In the final chapters, I reveal how many eaglets were born in 2020. I even show video of the parents feeding the chicks!
Feel free to share these chapters with your class to jump-start a classroom read aloud. If you’d like access to the rest of the book, please contact me. My publisher asks that the rest of the book not be shared on social media, but the chapter links can be shared in a google classroom or other closed venue. You may use some or all of chapters.
For Mystery on Pine Lake, I have the beginning and ending chapters for you to use with your students as a way of jump starting or ending a classroom read aloud. I created these for a K-6 school here in Maine, where every person in the building was reading the book!
When Maine’s RSU 18 decided to give their second and third grade students copies of Mystery of the Bear Cub, I created a first chapter read aloud for them as well! In it, I talk about how my first draft of Chapter 1 was boring, and how I used details from a snapping turtle fight I’d witnessed to make it more exciting. I show readers photos of the fight and even some video footage that came in very, very handy when it was time to write about it a year later.
This video can be incorporated into a lesson with students by comparing what I saw and heard during the turtle fight, with what I wrote in Chapter 1.
Please let me know if your classroom is reading aloud from any of the Cooper and Packrat adventures. I would love to connect with your classroom in some way!