One of my favorite times each day is our afternoon read aloud. When everyone returns from our afternoon special, we read a book. Last year I read chapter books. With our large class and split specials twice a week, that has become harder to do.
Instead, we read picture books. Unlike the stories we read in the morning that have to do with themes and usually include literacy extension activities, in the afternoon, the stories are read simply for pleasure… often they have a social studies angle and I relish the conversations that follow.
Today we read Mama Zooms by Jane Cowen-Fletcher. This book has been a favorite of mine for some time now. On the cover, a little boy sits on his mother’s lap, both of their arms spread out pretending to fly. I always ask for predictions and most have to do with just that… pretending to fly or go very fast. They never guess the mother is actually in a wheelchair pushing her son around. The author/illustrator cleverly keeps the wheelchair out of the illustrations until about halfway through the book.
We had a wonderful discussion about wheelchairs. I always pose the question, “Why would someone be in a wheelchair?” to the class. We brainstormed some possible reasons (they got hurt, they’re old and can’t walk anymore, or they broke a leg) and I always explain that sometimes people are born and their legs don’t work or sometimes people can get sick and their legs stop working.
Every year, a sprout points out the little boy loves his mother just the same and they have fun together, perhaps even a little more, than any other mother and child. Mama Zooms is a wonderful story and always starts amazing conversations, two things I love to experience with my class.