How can we help young people envision literacy experiences as entertaining, recreational, and downright amusing? Aren’t these views important ones, if we want to foster lifelong, passionate reading?
Last week, New York Times best-selling author Chris Grabenstein came to Whitby School to promote his 2016 publication of Mr. Lemoncello's Library Olympics. His presentation made me wonder: how do children benefit when librarians treat reading so seriously? Does taking literacy experiences to such a solemn place help young people love to read? According to Grabenstein, literacy experiences in schools can and should be laugh-out-loud funny.
Instead of a traditional (serious) author talk, Grabenstein’s presentation demonstrated his rich, comedic background. His skill in matching improvisational style with the young Whitby audience would have made his comedian colleague, the late Robin Williams, proud. Grabenstein and the Whitby students co-drafted a fictional story about an Harvard Educated squirrel with strong feelings about Donald Trump. Throughout the presentation and co-creation, Whitby students passionately laughed, clapped, and cheered.
After the presentation, students cheerfully stood in line to purchase a signed copy of one of Grabenstein’s books.
How can we be more like Grabenstein? How can we help young people envision literacy experiences as entertaining, recreational, and downright amusing? Aren’t these views important ones, if we want to foster lifelong, passionate reading?
For more information on Grabenstein's books that help children love reading, see http://www.chrisgrabenstein.com