professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Blast from the Past

I was scanning some photos today from my childhood, pictures of me and my Dad and me and my Mom. I finally got around to posting a photo army my wedding day now that BH and I have celebrated year #43. If you are like me, you see those photos from years (decades) ago and wonder where the time has flown.

The same thing is true when I see Facebook postings about topics such as creating and support readers. These tend to trigger earlier memories in my mind. Yesterday the post was about what parents could do to develop and sustain a love of reading at home. I flashed back to a conference decades ago. I think it was a meeting of the Greater Houston Area Reading Council. This group, GHARC as we called it, often attracted more than 1000 educators at their periodic breakfast meetings. One of the reasons was, BREAKFAST, and breakfast at a nice hotel in the Galleria area. It was a chance to sit and talk to folks from surrounding districts, enjoy a good meal, and listen to a wonderful speaker. Plus, afterward, many of us would head into the mall adjacent to the hotel and so some window shopping (it was and still is a fairly pricey selections of stores).

One Saturday morning, the speaker was Jim Trelease. He was just emerging with his READ ALOUD HANDBOOK. No one had really heard too much about him other than he was a journalist who believed we should be reading aloud to kids. He began, of course, by reading aloud to us. The book was WOLF STORY by William McCleery ( We were entranced. After all, who had read aloud to us recently. The only reading aloud I could recall was the administrator who read us each page of the Faculty Handbook during an inservice. Hardly compelling. But Trelease had us in the palm of his hand. He then went on to talk about the importance of reading aloud. He told the story of reading WHERE THE RED FERN GROWS to his sons. He talked about when and how and why we should read aloud. It was an incredible morning.

I bought a copy of THE READ ALOUD HANDBOOK and chatted with Mr. Trelease as he signed it. I think it was one of what I now recognize as a fan girl moment. After, I headed out to the mall and immediately tried to track down a copy of wolf story, a book I ended up ordering from my favorite book jobber (Amazon was not an option at the time; yes, I am that old). I read that book, marked it with all manner of notes and post-its. I grew my collection of read aloud selections.

Later, when I went to the university, Trelease's book was required reading for my undergrad students. I read aloud to open and end each class meeting. I had them read aloud as well. So, when I saw the post on FB, I remembered something Trelease said that morning (or it might have been at the dozens of other presentations I heard him give over the years). He talked about the 3 Bs of the home. Here is a PDF of the brochure you can download and copy for non-profit distribution:'s.pdf

I will post more about the 3 Bs later, I wanted to include another brochure for parents in PDF that gives 10 facts about reading. GHARC, at tone time, provided copies of these to distribute at our parent meetings. What parent does not want to know what they can do to support reading? And I will talk more about this brochure in a later post.

What I enjoy, though, is going back to these ideas decades later and finding that, by and large, they still speak with a clarion voice about the importance of reading aloud. And if you are looking for another great book on reading aloud, try Mem Fox's READING MAGIC. I need to post about THAT meeting down the line as well. Steven Layne's IN DEFENSE OF READ ALOUD is a more current book on the topic as well.

Memory Lane can be a lovely stroll on a weekend morning.
Tags: reading aloud
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