I remember the way classic cartoons used to show time passing: the days were crossed off and the months were torn away. Time zoomed by in the flickering light of the full-speed full-screen flipping of calendar pages.
The month of September flips to October this week and the lazy days of August seem far away. Of course, calendar pages don’t flip anymore. I click the mouse on “calendar” and the computer’s screen shows the current day. That’s technology. I am able to document our time together in ways that slow it down… and that’s technology, too. The “movie” included in this post documents the results of a conversation about literature that began on the first day of school. Learning this conversation takes time and even as the September days zoom by, I know the time is worth the investment.
Comprehension skills are the musical scales of deep and careful reading. I introduce these reading skills through storytelling. We begin by making the implicit skill of making connections an explicit awareness that we take into our reading. We practice this “scale” as we read, write, sketch, and discuss literature. We connect the known with the unknown. As we learn to listen to each other’s connections, words like protagonist, plot, allusion, transformation, and motif are knocking at the door, itching to inch their way into our literary talk.
Children ask me if I ever run out of folk tales. I don’t. Later this week, as I do every October, I’ll go to the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee. I’ll go and bring back some more stories to amplify a conversation that we began on the first day of school. We’ll move on to other comprehension skills, but we’ll continue to make connections with books, stories, and each other.