Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Stand and Deliver 2: Reading and Q&As

We then went on to discuss the all-important matter of Reading and the dreaded Questions and Answers...

Ask the teacher to read the book in class, but only to a certain point. Then when you come in, read the remaining chapters, making the best of the suspense created, interrupting your reading with questions to the children (what do you think is going to happen next? Will I read on or will I stop here?).

Stop your reading at any point to let the kids have a go: they can guess what will happen next or comment on the action.

Give the kids some detective work to do during the reading. Enda gave the example of an excerpt she read from The Silver Notebook in which she uses an element from a well-known fairy tale and asked the children to see if they could spot it.

Here too, try and tie in your reading with the wider writing world (does it remind of other stories/books?) and to the kids’ work (on the book or as displayed in the classroom).

Enda suggested to split the reading in two halves, with a pause in between. The reading shouldn’t exceed 10 mins.

As Sarah Webb said during the first Stand and Deliver workshop, you are not tied to your text. Sarah suggested you could slightly rewrite or cut an extract to better suit the needs of a listening audience. Enda encouraged ‘flicking’. You can read very short, punchy bites from you book and jump from one to the next, skipping entire chapters.

4) Q&A
It can be a good idea to enunciate the golden rules of Q&A right from the start: 1) listen carefully and you’ll find that some of your questions will be answered before you ask them; 2) put your hand up if you have a question.

If there are no questions from the kids and the teacher/librarian doesn’t volunteer any, ask the children some: where do you read? What do you read? Etc. That should hopefully spark off their curious minds and get the ball rolling.

Leave them on a high. If you feel that your time is nearly up and that you’ve given a particularly satisfying/inspiring answer to a question, stop right there.

Make contact with the organisers again for feedback.

Attend events by other writers/illustrators. It’s a great source of inspiration and fun!

After our separate sessions, the group was reunited for the real attraction of the afternoon (meaning the Scary Bit), where each of us had 3 minutes to launch into their spiel: Hi guys, my name is Juliette and I’m here to talk to you about my book…
The tailor-made feedback was fantastic and the range of styles and talents pretty impressive. Moving stories were told and incredible props produced, from scrapbooks to wigs to shrunken heads. Intrigued? You’ll just have to wait for these writers’ new titles and events in the coming weeks and months…

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