Three Read Aloud Stories

6 Mar

I want to share two of my favorite read aloud stories:

Story One:  From My Faulty Memory

My older brother has always loved fantasy stories such as the Tolkien trilogy and The Chronicles of Narnia. One of my favorite childhood pictures is of the two of us lying on a couch, maybe 9 and 4 years old, as he read The Arabian Nights. I don’t remember the photo being taken or what was going on, but I imagine he was reading to me. I may even be misremembering the book title as I don’t have the photo in hand, but I can see us with the book.

Not long after the picture was taken, my brother read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Again, I don’t remember him reading it to me. But, I do remember him handing me a cassette tape before he left for summer camp. On it he had recorded the book–my first book-on-tape–for me to listen to while he was gone. I had that tape for years; it was the first of many books that my brother recommended and that I have read and enjoyed.

Story Two: The Romance of Reading Aloud

A good friend once told me that she loved being read to. I responded that I, too, have lovely memories of being read to as a child. She said, “No, I love being read to now.” “By whom?” I had to ask. She explained that when her boyfriend came to visit they would sit up long into the night reading to each other. She talked about the melody and velvet of his voice and how sexy it was to have him read to her. In particular, they were reading Jeanette Winterson’s Sexing the Cherry. At the time, I was a big biker, and I thought there was nothing sexier than sharing a tandem bicycle. Once I heard this story, I thought there might be nothing more intimate than sharing a good book by reading it aloud to each other while snuggled up on a cold winter night.

Story Three: The Whole Megillah


Image via Wikipedia

As Culture Sprout’s Sunday school listened to the Book of Esther be read aloud in early celebration of Purim, I couldn’t help but think how appropriate it is that WRAD falls serendipitously on Erev Purim. The celebration of Purim involves reading  the  megillah or Scroll of Esther aloud.  It is meant to be a festive and rowdy, often turning into a big costume party.  The reader recites the age-old tale, and revellers respond by making so much noise that the name of the villainous Haman cannot be heard. Yesterday the reading of the megillah seemed as much a celebration of reading itself–of the joy of sharing our stories from generation to generation–as it is the celebration of a Jewish festival.

What does reading aloud make you think of?


2 Responses to “Three Read Aloud Stories”

  1. Brandon Isaacson (@BrandonIsaacson) March 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm #

    Late random response to this…

    Reading aloud makes me think of all the time I did not read aloud and all the times I will not. I think about how much is lost over every advancement in technology.

    When I was much younger I remember reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to my mother. While my mind was racing with excitement, she fell asleep. She has never been asleep during my childhood, always an excited and invested participant, but she, like my generation, sleeps when I read aloud.

    To be honest I was initially perplexed by the specificity of your question. Even after I had read a whole post about reading aloud, it seemed audacious to even propose I had read aloud or been read to since I was a child. You’re essentially discussing communal reading. My experience shows reading to be an alienating activity. It’s something you do when everyone else is out partying, watching tv or studying. It’s something you do alone for class, when everyone else just reads spark notes. It’s something you do to learn about other people, not to learn or share with them.

  2. Culture Bean March 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm #

    Brandon, You HAVE been read aloud to! In the past 6 months, even. I read aloud an excerpt from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein when we watched the movie. But, to answer your comment more specifically:

    While we often read alone, I don’t think of reading as an “alienating” activity. Some of my favorite memories of my dad and my best friends involve lazy Sunday mornings sharing the New York Times, or lying on Virginia Beach reading our books (when I find the photo of this, I’ll share it.). We often stopped reading to share an interesting tidbit of the paper, and once my Dad stopped reading to pick up the phone, get tickets to a show he’d just read the review of, and whisk my into NYC to see it! On the beach, we stop reading to splash our feet and always talk about our books, or share recipes from whatever magazine we’ve been flipping through.

    Those aren’t “read aloud” moments necessarily. Since I have Culture Sprout, I read and am read to regularly. And, as you know, I read my own work out loud to proofread it.

    But, I’m sure that if you think about it, you have moments when you’ve shared at least your opinion about something you’ve read with someone (i.e., Mom, you won’t believe the LAME reading Professor G. assigned this week!!) And, in just two weeks, you’ll sit at a table and read aloud the story of Passover……

    Just food for thought! Thank you so much for reading Culture Bean. I enjoy these “chats.”

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