Last week, our elementary school invited grandparents in to celebrate and honor their contribution to their grandchild’s life. Each grade level was asked to create some kind of meaningful activity /experience for that special day.
I teach fourth grade, and as our grade level pondered what to do, we considered many options. We perused Teachers Pay Teachers, searched the internet, talked with other educators, and discussed activities we’d done in the past. After much consideration, we finally decided to do a grandparent “craftivity” that included a writing and art project. We also created a Kahoot game, and with the help of an amazing teacher, we chose a read aloud.
The craftivity was a huge hit! Grandparents chuckled as they saw a rendition, a caricature of sorts, of themselves created by their very own grandchild. Some students added details like torn pants, a debit card slipped into a wallet of a purse, or a tuft of hair peeking out from behind the ears of an otherwise bald head.
Next, we played Kahoot. After all, what teacher doesn’t want to wow families with the power of technology in the classroom “these days?” Grandparents knew answers to some of the questions, and fourth graders knew some of the answers. Amazing and fabulous prizes were awarded (a mug with our corporation logo filled with chocolate) to first and second place winners. Watching generations collaborate on a team was great fun!
Finally, we settled on the carpet for a read aloud. I told grandparents how much we value the read aloud in our class and thanked them for the many read alouds I know they have shared with their student. As I opened the cover of A Box of Friends, by Pam Munoz Ryan, something quite magical began to transpire.
A hush fell over the room of around 50 people. Adults leaned in close to their grandchild. One grandma began to stroke her granddaughter’s hair as they listened. You could almost sense the anticipation of what would happen next as the pages turned. As I read the final page and slowly closed the book, the audience, both grandparents and my students, began to clap. I could not speak for several seconds, I was so moved.
You cannot explain in words the shared experience, the emotion, the connectedness that is experienced during a read aloud. You have to FEEL it. The power of it, the way it brings us all together, the way love is expressed through prose.
So, thank you grandparents, for sharing our day. Thanks for the laughs and the gratitude you expressed.
But most of all, thank you for reading aloud to your grandchild.