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WRAD Blogging Challenge: Week 2

You & Someone New

This week's WRAD topic of talking books with "someone new" led me to seek someone outside of my education circle.  

I sent the questions to Tai Fung, a standout in my group of online running friends.  Tai (not his real name; for details about this please read his bio) is not only a runner, but also a lawyer.  A closer look at his Twitter bio reveals all sorts of great details but the two most exceptional:  Tai's a nerd and a baseball fan.  (Does it get any better?!)  He's also a great writer so be sure and follow tales of his running escapades on his blog Everybody Tai Fung Tonight.  (Oh that name!)

Tai graciously answered the WRAD questions and even shared an interesting story about reading aloud during his college days.  

Without further ado, here we go!

Tai's answers will be in red; Mine will be in black.

It's funny -- when I was in college at NCSU, I had an English prof who had us participate in a study.  What we did was this:  for one semester, I read (in person) to a 4th grade class in Raleigh.  I'd read a SECTION of a book, and then stop it at a critical point after a good while reading.  Usually a few books per session.  The kids seemed to really like it if I did weird/funny accents or voices for the characters, or if I used varying inflections as I read.  

Anyway, we measured how well it did for generating interest in the book.  Also, at the same time, I read on videotape to a different class (so no feedback, but still did the voices/accents that the kids all seemed to love.  We measured THAT class's interest.  I suppose there was a control class that got nothing.  Alas.

Once I graduated, and then after law school, it turned out my first assignment had an "adopt-a-school" thing, so I found another class to go read to, although this time it was more complete stories.  So basically, I've been reading aloud to children since I was barely responsible enough to even consider HAVING them.

I love this story so much!  What an interesting comparison to see if the face to face interactions of reading aloud made a difference with students.  My gut reaction is OF COURSE IT DID!  Relationships can be such a strong factor in read alouds!  

Tai and I also had a discussion about inflection and intonation while reading aloud vs. none...but I'll leave out the details to protect the not-so-innocent infractors of this important rule.

On to the questions!

1. I think everyone in the world should read… 

This is tough.  In the WORLD?  I'd almost have to go with a children's book, because by the time we're older, we're already too subdivided.  Hmm.  Let's go with the works of Dr. Seuss.

Dr. Seuss is a great choice!  I agree and raise you Grimm's Fairy Tales...the originals, of course.  Yes, they're not for the very young but I love the stories and so do children.  It's perfectly okay not to read the watered down versions to kids.  They'll be okay!  (Look at dad always read the "classic" Grimm tales to me!)

2. If I could listen to anyone in the world read aloud to me it would be…

Dave Barry.  He can entertain even reading a phone book (although at this point aren't phone books just big yellow ads for bail bonds and tow trucks??).

I love that you said Dave Berry because he cracks me up.  I'm going with Mo Willems!  The one time I had the privilege to hear him read and meet him still stands out in my mind.  He managed to entertain an audience of babies all the way to grandparents for an entire hour...and we still wanted more!  The power of laughter is strong for all ages.

3. When I read aloud, my favorite character to impersonate is... 

No specific character, but I love to characterize haughty, nasty, or the self-important.  They usually end up getting taken down a peg, and it's fun to really "sell" their personality for their later comeuppance. 

I completely agree!  I love reading a good villain's voice.  I also enjoy a character with a great sense of sarcastic humor.  I guess what I enjoy is putting on a good show for listeners.  If  I can get into a character, the read aloud is a win for everyone. 

4. The genre or author that takes up the most room on my bookshelf or e-reader...

Pretty much all of the works of James Randi.

I'll admit it.  I had to Google James Randi and pull up a list of books he's authored on GoodReads.  Interesting stuff!  

My bookshelves remain crammed with fantasy books, but realistic YA books are creeping into my shelves and now take up way more space than I care to admit.  I do love being able to recommend books for all of my students and lately I seem to have even more realistic readers at the high school level.  

5. My favorite part about reading aloud or being read to is...

I love reading stories aloud. The opportunity to really get creative with voice inflection, accents, or just differing characterizations really excites me.

My favorite part is hooking a reader so they want to hear or read more of the story.  Sharing a good story is a powerful way to connect with others.

A HUGE thank you to Tai for playing along and answering this week's questions!  

Be sure and check out my last year's WRAD answers to similar questions HERE and follow the hashtag #WRAD15 for more updates from participants across the globe.


  1. This was such a fun exercise! Thank you for asking me! And yes, Mo Willems is a GREAT choice! A couple of years ago, I was watching a DVD of him reading to kids, and I was laughing just as much as the kiddos. Lots of happy memories because of your including me!

    1. Thank you so much for participating! Having you as a guest on my blog was a win for all!

    2. Ugh, and for the record, that should be "because of your INCLUSION of me." I'm going to go ahead and plead excessive scotch consumption. Because just a sloppy typo isn't exciting enough. Drat!

    3. darn that pesky keyboard & typos! Cheers!


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