Last week, I read aloud to an amazing Kindergarten class in Kea’au, Hawaii via a Skype video call from California. I decided to read Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand, a book that has fundamentally impacted our family. The book is about a girl named Alex, a young girl faced with a big problem that comes up with a solution: she will sell lemonade from a lemonade stand. This story illustrates how one small act can have an impact on many people.
Carmen Richardson, the classes’ teacher Kamehameha School in Hawaii, told me that “The kids loved reading with you and thoroughly enjoyed having a chance to ask you questions.” It was a fantastic experience, and I really enjoyed seeing the kids avidly follow along from their own copies of the book on the screen as I read out loud. All this was done for program called the World Read Aloud Day Initiative which allows people to connect with any classroom in the work via the Skype in the classroom program.
After I finished reading, the kids asked me a few questions. Here are some highlights from my favorite moments – of course, the class started off asking about reading:
Class: “What was your favorite book when you were a child?”
Cat in the Hat! I loved Dr. Seuss. Do you like Dr. Seuss? What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?
Class: “Fox in Socks! Did you read a lot when you were a kid?”
I loved reading; always have and still do. One of my sons – Devon – also loves to read. But what is interesting is that when he was your age – kindergarten – reading was challenging. Around 3rd grade, he started finding books he loves to read. Now he is in 5th grade, and he is one of the best readers in the class. So, even if you’re not a great reader right now, you can become a phenomenal reader. Keep looking for great stories.
Next, the class was curious about whether I’d visited their home state:
Class: “Have you ever been to Hawaii?”
I love Hawaii – I’ve been to lots of places in Hawaii, but my favorite place is Maui; just thinking of it makes me relaxed.
Class: “Have you ever been to Honolulu?”
I went as a high school student with most of my high school friends; I thought it was the best thing in the whole world.
Class: “Have you ever surfed?”
I did, and it is very difficult. Surfing was not a high moment of my life.
Class: “What is the favorite place that you’ve visited in the world?”
Class: “Do you have a state fish in California?”
I’m not sure. That’s a really good question. I think you might have gotten me stumped! (As I found out later, it’s the Golden trout. You learn something new every day.)
Shortly after my read aloud session, I received a note from Liz Scott, founder of Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation:
“I am so thrilled that you chose Alex and the Amazing Lemonade Stand as your book of choice to read to a classroom over Skype. What an innovative way to share the story of our daughter, Alexandra “Alex” Scott, and her mission to find a cure for all kids with cancer across great distances.”
I encourage anyone interested in participating in the Skype Read Aloud movement – teachers, classes or speakers – to head over to the Skype in the classroom website.