Back in the late 20th century, my mother adored expressive read aloud with storyteller voice changes and gestures plus improvised personally sung music or if she was really into it, a vinyl recording played in the background to set up the story’s mood. Of course, this “human” animated voice acting and movement plus music rich “classroom 102” can engage your elementary emergent reader classroom or middle elementary school reading circle as well.
But in this digital multimedia platform age is this the only onsite adult reading story model for students? What about students whose family members do not read in English or come from oral tradition language cultures not print? Even if classroom educators are expressive theatrical readers, are their voices the only real aloud ones students can or should listen to as they learn their own read aloud techniques?
Today any teacher who has a set of Chromebooks has multiple story telling opportunities for young students available. These can also model young reader (grades 2 to 4) speaking and listening and interactive reading skills without the teacher or an onsite reading aloud adult available. As any millennial teacher with a projector and online YouTube or video connection will tell you storytelling and reader motivation has evolved digitally and media wise far beyond perhaps eventually seeing an animated film or live action film of a story read. Best seller print picture books arrive on bookshelves or are read aloud to young readers on classroom rigs or in library reading rooms, their digital counterparts are available online on YouTube with author or actors reading them or performing them. In fact usually for any well known living or deceased (death is no problem on YouTube or digital media- in real life yes, but in multimedia –no!!) , there is not a single but rather multiple YouTube readings or talks or Storyteller versions of the new work or classic work. Either in anticipation of a work’s sale for a media production or to get that multiple intelligenced spatial, musical and kinesthetic audience involved many book publishers are developing trailers (available on Chrome or YouTube or on author websites to be accessed on Google) similar to those that generate audiences for movies to promote children’s literature and YA sales.
So, who needs a human teacher reading aloud with expression and voice changes and recorded music backgrounds in a single classroom, when the Chromebook accessed internet is full of You Tube and Storyteller non-human can be looped forever and ever and read on demand counterparts? Should the teacher and young emergent reader or older elementary child take cover and run away from these non human forever energized click and tell You Tube and Storyteller rivals? Is it game over, human teacher reader and student read aloud or interactive reader over and out –done and down?
No- not by the thousands of listeners or viewers these digital and multimedia storytelling and reader advertisement trailers generate!!
Teachers, get a hold on your shut down of available You Tube and Storyteller resources. Don’t try to lock them out or steer away from them.
Use them as you do movies or oral recordings of stories to motivate and to enhance critical and comparative analytical listening and speaking skills!! What, for students K-2, is that even possible? Yes!!
Case in point. The newly published Ada Twist, Scientist (2016) is already riding the Children’s NY Times Best Seller list. I was so excited and enthused about it, then I went online to find its author and illustrator chatting away. How terrific, since I could extract a mystery question from what they said on You Tube or a question about their appearance or reference to the book my grade two students would get and use it to excite them in connecting the story with its real life creators. Plus in real world now bestselling author Andrea Beaty no longer visits classes even by Skype but my students will be thrilled to see and hear her in person as well as sly illustrator David Roberts, feeling they “had” them and right after Ada Twist story time in our class. I could even throw in having the kids draw and talk as they imagined Andrea and David would look and sound and then have them check what they did against the You Tube reality.
Even better we could talk about how the story might be read aloud in a different, deeper or funnier or rushed tone than I read and the students could generate a range of styles and tones that would fit this story of the never still, always inquiring Ada Twist. The twist to this made possible by a click on You Tube was we could find and hear several variations of styles for reading the story- a range of speaking and listening and interpreting which supported the text but made it live and engaging. The students could decide subjectively but with reference to text and the use of illustrations –as a flow or one by one- which You Tube or Storyteller versions was the most effective for them and why and justify that choice with a few illustrations or words from the print story that were well conveyed in the multimedia format.
Beyond that I always had kids do a media transformation of a print text to performed play or a storyboard sequence. Why not use the Storyteller version of Ada Twist and the You Tube trailer plus other You Tube interviews for it as anchor digital production models and have students with our classroom cell camera or audio recorder, design their own book trailer to help Ada Twist twist her scientist way to the top of the Best Seller list or at least inspire our George Lucas, Disney and Pixar creators 2028 to become digital literacy storytellers and children’s literature and literacy marketers!!
The sound of the expressive human voice making storytelling gestures and reaching out to the audience at his or her feet or on his or lap will never be stilled nor should it. But that voice can be joined and strengthened in its reach to engage every child listener and reader and artist and creator in the circle of literacy that includes the ever ready to connect You Tube Channel with authors and story tellers who never tire or die or fade away and a trailer that leads to the printed word and the story. Human teachers will always be needed and if they realize resistance is futile can actually be inspired by the ways in which Storyteller and You Tube bring in their readers at their feet and in their seat back to the text. In the beginning was and is the word- be it on the page or online. Humans nothing to fear from You Tube and Storyteller, they are just other tools to use to reach readers and invigorate reading, writing, speaking and listening. Literacy Lives!!
Ada Twist Scientist You Tube
Ada Twist Scientist Read aloud by Andrea Beaty
Ada Twist World Read Aloud Day 2017
About Sector 5,
Sector 5, Inc. (OTCQB: SFIV), is a Proud American Corporation, that sells, manufactures and develops new innovative consumer electronics under Sector 5 and other brands. The Company markets its partnership with Google approved Chromebooks to educational organizations, other B2B and B2C sales channels, with retail sales on Amazon. It is in development of several new products to serve the educational, business and retail markets. Follow the company on www.twitter.com/sectorfiveinc and www.facebook.com/sect5 and find further information at www.sector-five.com. For Sector 5’s Forward Looking Statements, click here.