Thursday, May 13, 2010

Out of the Way! Out of the Way!

An excerpt from Uma Krishnaswami's blog on her experiences of reading from her stories to children in Singapore international schools. Have you seen the slideshow with art from this book yet?


Speaking of cutting to the chase, when I read Out of the Way! Out of the Way! at the Global Indian International School (both at the East Coast campus and Balestier) two repetitive elements of the book lent great energy to the reading. One was the refrain of the title. The K-2 groups all joined me with enthusiasm in a chorus of "Out of the way! Out of the way!" every time we circled around to that point in the story. In general the younger the group, the harder it was to stop. I tried using two hands (as in one chorus per hand) and that sort of worked. I have to admit there were places where it was just necessary to let the group keep going and repeat the lines four or five times instead of two. Sort of like toddlers walking and unable to stop, we teetered on together, collapsing in heaps of laughter. The other lines that the kids began repeating, although I hadn't asked them to, were "from here to there...and back again..." I'd walk as I read, from here to there. In a couple of groups the kids walked their fingers on the ground where they sat.
Children really do listen to stories with their whole bodies.

I asked them what the story was about. Here are some of the responses:
  1. Out of the way! Out of the way! (Sure, why not?)
  2. Trees
  3. We like trees
  4. We must take care of trees
  5. Trees grow big like us
This last was from a very tiny child who came up and hugged me when I left.

You can read the rest of the post here.