I usually read at least five or six novels to my students during the last part of the school year. This year I decided to start reading novels aloud to the class right from the start. After our CAFE groups and Daily 5 centers are cleaned up (students do this as quickly and as correctly as possible so that they don't miss any of the story) I spend ten minutes or so reading aloud before lunch. I decided to start with a story I was currently reading to my own boys since I had all the voices down to a science. And with that decision, George's Marvelous Medicine, became our first mini novel read aloud. This turned into an author study as we read a few more mini novels by Roald Dahl.
Because the students are so enthusiastic (they even bring their own copies to "follow along" with during read aloud time) we have voted to read at least one more novel by Roald Dahl. I read the first chapter of The BFG and the first chapter of Danny, The Champion of the World to the students. They had to compare the tone and feel of both books before they voted for the novel they wanted to hear the most. Which book do you think won? We are reading The BFG and the kids LOVE it!
I have to be careful to keep the tone more playful and funny than scary and dark. I think the book could easily go either way depending on how you read it. I read with a pretty funny accent for the giant character and am sure to "edit" the book as a read.
I asked the students to reflect on the books we have already read with this simple reflection sheet. Download a copy of My Favorite Roald Dahl Book reflection sheet and get started reading The Magic Finger and George's Marvelous Medicine to your students! It's so much fun to read and laugh together; I am so glad I started this habit early this year!