Dear reader, yesterday I returned to Izzy's class for the second and final installment of Fantastic Mr. Fox. It took me forty minutes to finish the book and during that time, I don't think anyone batted an eye. They were too fascinated or perhaps even unnerved by my dramatic reading. Because I brought it, dear reader. I came ready for my close-up.
I gesticulated, I writhed, I wept, I exulted. Perspiration beaded my brow and flecks of spittle sprayed the children seated in front.
And afterward I brought donuts (it relates to the story!) and listened to one little boy talk my head off about digging tunnels and whether it was really possible for Mr. Fox to break through the floorboards as he did, until finally it was all I could do to keep from adopting him.
When I read aloud, by the way, I don't bury myself in the book. I often mentally read ahead and then look around the room as I deliver the phrase. In this way, you can enjoy the best part of story-telling: watching the events come alive in the faces of your audience. You can actually see them visualizing the action.
Sometimes their expressions mirror your own, sometimes you catch a faraway look in their eyes. Sometimes, when the story is reaching a climax, you see their anticipation, their sense of what's ahead and the unbearable suspense of waiting for you to actually say it.