This week our class read and re-read the Lynn Cherry’s classic, The Great Kapok Tree. I have read this story many times to many groups of students, but this was by far the most engaged that I had seen kids be with this book. The most obvious explanation for this is that they could sense MY excitement as I read it. The idea that I might have a chance to actually have the experience of being in a tropical rainforest this summer caused me to notice details that I had missed in previous readings. The description of the sounds the different animals made–the density of the vegetation, the sheer number of birds. What a great pleasure to read an author who is able to describe a with such vivid and vibrant detail. As a teacher of 2nd graders, often my focus is on teaching my students skills that they will need to comprehend a text: paying attention to the story elements, inferring the main idea, using context clues to understand vocabulary. I was reminded this week that if we are doing our students a disservice if we reduce the experience reading to only teaching those skills. It is so obvious (but also easy to forget) that when we are passionate and excited about what we are teaching, our kids will learn more.
Question for kids: If you went to the rainforest, what animal would you most want to see? (Use the comments section to share your answer!)