TRC Read to Kids

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Illusion and Imagination Create a Magical Read-Aloud Session

Volunteers on Team Three at ARHA recently put together a captivating Read-Aloud session about magic. Team Three piqued the kids' interest from the get-go when Read-Aloud volunteer Kevin produced his imaginary dog "Cupcake" on her invisible dog leash. You can imagine the excitement.

Kevin, who is a professional dog trainer by day, had answers to all of the kids' questions about Cupcake. To carry out the illusion, Kevin said that Cupcake needed a nap and put her in the crate (a prop he had brought along) when it was time to begin reading.

To get the kids thinking about magic tricks, Kevin had a brown paper bag and asked the kids to throw imaginary balls into it. When the kids threw their balls, Kevin made the motion of catching them in the bag and snapped his fingers on the back side of the bag to the make the sound of the ball hitting the bottom. The effect was so realistic that even the volunteers had to ask how it worked.

For the large group Read-Aloud, Ellen read Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld. This book explores a simple optical illusion. If you look at the drawing one way you see a duck and if you look at it another way you see a rabbit. It was a great introduction to optical illusions, and the simple text and engaging illustrations kept the children interested. Volunteers talked with the kids about how many magic tricks use optical illusions.

After the large group Read-Aloud, the group watched a YouTube video featuring Steve Frayne. This video contains three tricks: he walks on water, puts a cell phone into a glass bottle and walks through glass. The team showed the kids the bottle trick and the walking through glass trick. All the kids (and the grown-ups) were amazed and unable to answer the inevitable question of "how did he do that!"

For small group reading, the volunteers read some of these books:
The Magic Rabbit by Richard Watson
For the activity, the kids learned how to do the imaginary ball in a paper bag trick. They were excited to learn how the trick worked after watching Kevin do it at the beginning of the Read-Aloud. To make this trick work, all the kids had to do was to fold down the top of the paper bag to keep it open and work on their finger-snapping and acting skills. With some practice, all the kids were able to succeed at the trick and could not wait to show it off at home.

The real trick to having a successful Read-Aloud about magic is to keep it as simple as possible. Easy props such as a magician's hat, cape or wand would also be great additions, even if you don't have an invisible dog!

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