Monday, November 05, 2007

Maya Angelou Moment

I had a Maya Angelou moment today in class. A few weeks ago, before I came back to teaching, my students read an except from Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. In it, the main young, female character (Maya) has the opportunity to carry the groceries home of a well-respected elder woman (Mrs. Flowers) in her community. While there, Mrs. Flowers reads to Maya from Tale of Two Cities ("It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."). Maya can hardly speak when the older woman is done reading because the words sound completely different coming from Mrs. Flowers' mouth than from the page. This is when Maya begins a love relationship with books and words.

Now, I don't think I inspired any love relationships, but I did show my students the power of good reading. While reading the diary entry Forest Fire, by Anais Nin, I stopped and asked them all to find a phase or sentence that vividly described the fire. There are several extremely vivid examples in the two short pages. I have a favorite one and when no one pointed it out, I read it aloud to them.

Most of the students just stared at me after I read it (which I am sure was their sugar-induced comas), but a couple were really struck by the sounds of the words I read. (I'd write it out for you here, but I left the lit book at school today.) One student in particular said she had read that part, but it sounded much more interesting when I read it and she felt like Maya in that 'caged bird' story.

It made me feel nice inside that I could show students how exciting the printed word could be. I'll come back later and post some of her great, vivid language.

0 Commented on Jennifer's Thoughts:

Post a Comment

Thanks for commenting! Be sure to leave an email address in your profile or in your comment if you'd like a reply.