The Trouble with Reading Aloud

My first read aloud this year was Patricia MacLachlan’s Edward’s EyesI was reading it for the first time as I read it aloud to my students. I knew from reading reviews that the title character dies (oops, maybe I should have prefaced that with a spoiler alert!), but I assumed he died early on. Instead the author made us love Edward, and then killed him. I had to read aloud, forcing the words around the lump in my throat and sniveling. I did only slightly better when I read it to my second class.

As I read aloud Chapter 7  of Orbiting Jupiter this week, I had a similar sensation. I have not read ahead, but I’ve heard enough to make me fear that the story ends tragically. There was such a strong feeling of foreboding in the pages of this chapter. I was at least as close to tears as the librarian/foster mom. Maybe I was even as teary as Jack. There was so much tension in the scene with the police officers; though I must say I’m glad Schmidt didn’t portray them as bad guys. I was honestly surprised that the chapter ended as positively as it did for Joseph.

Still my worry remains, there’s the loose end of Joseph’s father, there’s Nick Porter and his friends, and there was a hint that Mrs. Stroud might be thinking about moving Joseph. How will it end? You can bet I’ll be reading that last chapter aloud first thing Monday morning.

One thought on “The Trouble with Reading Aloud

  1. I read Wringer aloud to students once and had not previewed it at all. At the climax I was on the edge of my seat (and also in tears) along with the kids. I recall being completely terrified that I would completely lose my composure, but in the end, I held it together.

    Overall, worth the tension to bring that reading love / excitement to a group that may include non-readers. Thanks for doing it!

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