Monday, October 16, 2006

Who said "BOO" to the Kangaroo?

Date: 14 October 2006
Class Attendance: 6/9
Volunteers: 1/2 (me)

There were some attritions to the class as some parents decided to let their children focus on exams while others were concerned about the haze.

This session was better than the previous one as 2 boys (YX, R) and 4 girls (LM, S, J, Z) turned up.

Judy Ling's big print books are nowadays my staple for the first 20-30 minutes of reading. She collaborates with many illustrators and I chose the book, "Who Said BOO to the Kangaroo" which was illustrated by a well-known person (his name escapes me for now...).

It is a simple story about the Kangaroo being scared by something and all the animals such as the rat, cat, cock, cow, crow being asked by the kookabura for the reason Kangaroo was running away. It allows each of the animal sounds to be read out by the children who get to learn to associate what sound does each animal make.

As a toastmaster, reading children's books trains one's vocal variety or the ability to vary one's pitch, volume, tone, speed and to articulate cleary the rhymes and rhythmic words used in the book. My class allows me to practice my vocal variety as children are very good at picking up sounds and imitating you. So if you can pronounce the word correctly for them, there is a high chance they can pick it up correctly through listening and reading it out themselves.

I think I'm quite relaxed with the children as I allow them to climb up onto the table during class. One of my girls was gently chided by the counter staff for clambering onto the table, "Is that the way a lady sits?" she remarked.

So long as safety of the children is not an issue, I typically allow them to stand up and clamber to be able to see the big print book that I hold out during the group reading session. As a child, I also hated sitting still and kidsREAD would be fun if children were not overly constrained by our "normal" rules of class.

It's interesting to see how my own reading skills have improved over the past year or so that I have been leading the kidsREAD class. I start to be more conscious on who vocal variety is such a powerful device one has at his disposal if we take the time and effort to train it effectively.

The classes will be ending soon with school holidays looming in the horizon. We will officially break either on 4 Nov or 11 Nov. That will be the time for me identify successors to lead the class and I am trying to see if I can bring up some young varsity or JC student who would be keen to work with children.

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