A Read Aloud Conversation



“It’s like you sacrifice yourself for something.”  Jack quietly said.

He had been listening to a read aloud, How to Heal a Broken Wing by Bob Graham.

His first grade class was deep into describing Will, the main character –

helpful, sad because the bird is hurt, caring, thoughtful, really kind, simply nice, selfless

The book is light on text, heavy on pictures.  The book is meant to be read with intentional lingering.  The reader needs to make sense of the images and the story.

As I lingered on one page, Teddy noticed the one feather that had fallen off of the bird.  He noticed that Will was carrying it.

“Do you think Will is doing the right thing by taking the bird off the sidewalk?”  I asked.

“Yes because he can take care of the bird and then let it go.”

“Yes because he can bring the bird to a doctor and the doctor can fix the wing.”

“Would you do what Will is doing?”  I wanted to hear more of their thinking.  They were riveted to the book, I knew there was thinking happening.  I need to probe and wait for more.

“Well, I mean, I would want to take care of the bird but sometimes birds carry germs.”

Heads shook in agreement at this thought.

“I agree with Teddy, you have to be careful when you see a hurt animal.”

So, here’s a big question, “Do you put yourself in danger  – harms way – to help someone else?”

Reece chimed in right away, “It depends.  If a bird fell near a volcano, I don’t think I would go help that bird.  I might fall in.”

Jan responded, “But what Will is doing, that’s OK.”

During this exchange, Jack sat and took it all in, and right before we had to wrap up for recess, I heard him softly say –

“It’s like sometimes you sacrifice yourself for something or someone.”

There’s nothing more powerful than a read aloud with time to think.


13 thoughts on “A Read Aloud Conversation”

  1. I love this book, this slice, and your words “intentional lingering,” I think I love Jack too (and not just because he has my grandson’s name).


  2. Your post shows one of the many powers of read aloud! In Maryanne Wolf’s book, Reader Come Home, she discusses the vital importance of reading because of how it helps us perspective take, which builds empathy (among other things). Stepping into another person’s shoes to imagine what it might be like to be that character is so powerful. Looks like you did that beautifully here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Deep, foundational truth of life, self-sacrifice. Absolutely poignant. The two things that I would never take away from teaching are the read-aloud and writing workshop – their impact is immense.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nod I need to buy the book. Jack gives me hope. His empathy for the bird and probably for his fellow humans shows in his words. Beautiful slice. Thank you.


  5. This is some pretty deep conversation for first graders. THIS is the power of a picture book to stimulate thinking and conversation. Read alouds offer us so much more than a model for fluency and comprehension,they offer us situations in which we can stand and observe-or choose to act. LoVe tHiS!!


  6. Thank you on behalf of those children that 1) you allowed ample time for them to reflect and respond and 2) you clearly listened to their responses. I don’t think these are elements that can be taken for granted in read-aloud situations.


  7. What a powerful response – and what a tribute to allowing children, people, really, the time to think and to articulate their responses. I can’t wait to check this book out from the library.


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