Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Mystery Reader

Being a Mystery Reader in first grade is a little like volunteering to step on the circus stage--you know darn well something funny will happen with the clowns and that it will likely involve water.
Yet, it is nice to raise your hand and be chosen.
Thus, I marched off to the elementary school last week with my two reads tucked under my arm and a theme: It's good to be quirky.
Mrs. E. turned off the lights as I entered and did a drum's Will's mom!
I parked myself in the rocker.
"Our two stories today are about being quirky and how that's a good thing," I told the kids clustered on the Crayola-colored rug. "Who knows what quirky means?"
Noone knew.
"Well, it means being unique in a special way," I said. "Our baby Charlotte is quirky because she likes to do chores. When she crawls, she pulls herself around on her tummy, dusting the floor."
I added that I'm quirky--I drink Diet Coke with my breakfast!
I offered other examples: Our grandma screams really loud when she rides kiddie amusements even though she's in her seventh decade of life, Will's sister separates all her food into categories before she eats them, our daddy can snore so loud you can hear him one floor down.
I then proceeded to read "Imogene's Antlers," the story of a British girl who, wouldn't you know it, grows antlers! I follow up with Dav Pilkey's "Dog Breath," about a canine who saves the day despite needing to brush and floss.
Then it was time to see how well we did with retention.
"Okay, so we know being quirky is a good thing," I said. "Who here is quirky?"
One little boy offered that he's quirky because he wears his hair in a braid on top of his head; another girl lives on a farm with a horse.
Will's friend Sandy has a dog who has really, really short legs but runs surprisingly fast.
They were getting into the swing of things now.
"Ohh, ohh, I have one," yelled a kid in a Cub Scout uniform hopping up and down. "I have a dog who wears a diaper and pees blood!"
Next time I think I will go to the circus.
At least that's a more predictable afternoon.