What’s more satisfying than reading books to young kids? Cluster students can brush up their own reading and performance skills and share favorite stories at the same time during Story Time.
Story Time is held during the last half hour of tutoring every few months in the winter and spring, when older students volunteer to read stories to younger ones. The older student chooses books to read to students in grades K-3. Sixth-grader Desmond volunteered to read three of his favorites that are both creepy and funny: Creepy Pair of Underwear!, Creepy Carrots, and The Bad Seed.
For a few weeks before the reading, Desmond and his tutor, David Barnett, rehearsed reading aloud. Desmond worked on practical things, David said, like getting more familiar with the story, “practicing expression, and showing pictures to people.”
Desmond said he just “likes to read to kids.” He doesn’t have any younger brothers or sisters at home, so reading during story time is a good outlet.
Desmond’s first choice, Creepy Pair of Underwear!, was a hit with his young audience. It’s a picture book by Aaron Reynolds and Caldecott Medal Honor winner Peter Brown about a brave little rabbit and a very weird pair of underwear — ghostly green with a scary face.
Desmond’s audience of about ten young students really got into the book’s humor and followed along closely, offering comments about the story of Jasper Rabbit, the young bunny hero.
Jasper insists that he is not afraid of the dark, and he’s definitely not scared of something as silly as a pair of underwear. But the ghostly green pair starts to haunt him when the lights go out. Jasper tries different methods of getting rid of the scary pair of underwear he had insisted that his mother buy. No matter what he does — hide them in his underwear drawer, bury them, cut them up into little pieces — the underwear keeps coming back to haunt him.
“It’s glowing!” said Jordan, one of the student audience members. “Now he’s going to have to go to school with no pants!”
Of course, all’s well that ends well with the bunny protagonist. As Desmond read in the book’s conclusion to his young charges, Jasper was no longer afraid because he was NOT a young bunny anymore.
There are two more sessions of Story Time are scheduled for this year, both on Thursday evenings. Cluster students who are interested in reading to younger students during a future Story Time can volunteer to Cluster Executive Director Kara Kalnitz. Story Time presents an opportunity for students and tutors to explore new works of literature as well as keep practice reading skills.