Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Great Brain--revisited

If you have any doubt that reading aloud to your class can make a difference, let me please encourage you to continue to make time for that read-aloud. It's probably been at least 20 years since one of my elementary school techers read The Great Brain to me in class, and I not only remembered it, but chose to share it with my own son. I didn't realize until tonight, as we finished More Adventures of the Great Brain, that the first of these books was originally published in 1967. I probably first heard the stories in the mid 70s and now, here we are in 2006 and I find my son enjoying the stories every bit as much as I remember having enjoyed them back then. I have heard far too many claims of "instant classic" these days. In my humble opinion, a classic is something that brings as much pleasure 10 years, 20 years, 30 years--going on 40 years--after it was written, as it did when first published. I can say, with no qualms whatsoever, that The Great Brain series qualifies, hands down. If it's been a while since you've read them (or if you've never had the pleasure of reading them), the series includes 7 titles:

  • The Great Brain
  • More Adventures of the Great Brain
  • Me and My Little Brain
  • The Great Brain at the Academy
  • The Great Brain Reforms
  • The Return of the Great Brain
  • The Great Brain Does it Again
  • The Great Brain is Back
Thanks to one teacher's tenacity in reading aloud to my class, I was introduced to a series that meant something to me back then, and that now, means even more as I have shared it with my son. I knew we had a winner when, tonight, as we finished the last chapter, (after he finished smacking his forehead at J.D. having been swindled once again) he asked if there were more books in the series. I was happy to tell him "yes."

If you are reading aloud to your child or class, kudos to you. You may not realize how much of an impact you are having, or that you might have years from now--but that time shared in reading can make a difference that reaches well beyond the school years.