Reading Aloud: Character Voices

Filed Under (K-3, Monarch Award, Picture books, Reading Aloud) by on February 24, 2010 and tagged ,

the perfect nestAnother 2010 Monarch, “The Perfect Nest” by Catherine Friend did not have a phrase for students to repeat and chant along, but it did have a certain pattern the listeners could enjoy anticipating.  Friend really followed the storytellers rule of three throughout the book.

“Dry me, dry me, dry me,” cried the soggy baby chick.

“Feed me, feed me, feed me,” cried the hungry baby duck.

“Play, play, play,” cried the excited baby goose.

Jack hid in the barn.  The three babies found him.

He hid in the woods.  The three babies found him.

Jack hid under the tractor.  The three babies found him and dragged him back to the nest.

But beyond the joy of the rule-of-three pattern was text written in dialect.  The Spanish sounding hen, the French duck, and the *Texas goose:

“Caramba!” – the hen.

“Sacre bleu!…Zee perfect nest.” – the duck.

“Great balls of fire!…a perfect nest”.

*Actually, my goose voice was from Texas.  When you read it aloud she might be from Tennessee or Georgia…. Or southern Illinois!

The reader simply MUST read those lines with the various accents!  It is much easier (and safer) to include an accent when the text specifically includes it.  Accents can be difficult to keep consistent and the reader must walk a fine line between accents which are playful vs accents which mock.  My only criticism of this lovely title was that the Spanish hen did not have well developed lines – just the word Caramba!  But when each of the hatchlings had their mother’s accent and phrasing, it had the kids laughing aloud.

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