July 2000

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No Generation Gap At Annual Read Aloud

By Nellie Brewster, Trustee, Waverly Free Library, Waverly, New York

July 2000 issue of Trustee

So, you really think children won't sit still for the written wordŠthat they need to be electronically entertained?

It's pretty obvious that you were not at a Read Aloud! And you think it takes bright lights, bells and whistles to get the attention of today's younger set? You definitely were not part of the Great New York State Read Aloud! You're sure there's little hope for the future of the written word? No question! You should have been at a Read Aloud-somewhere, anywhere across the state.

Our small library attracted more than 25 readers on a chilly night in April, people from age six to sixty and beyond. At least that many more were there to just listen.

They heard everything from Shel Silverstein's poetry (read so eloquently by two young men -- one 10 years of age and the other 8) to a passage from a novel-in-progress -- shared by its author; from the classic "Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" to another original story (this one written and illustrated by a young lady, also just 8 years of age."

They heard the village mayor, parents, grandparents, library trustees, members of the community and each other -- all with the simple love of words and reading in common. They heard the three young fifth-grade winners of our library's "Why my local library is important to me" essay contest.

And they saw that the love of reading is important to all sorts of people - not just children and not just parents and teachers; that people actually took time out to come to the library and read to each other.

What's more, they saw people enjoying the sharing -- applauding for and actually laughing out loud over something so common, so mundane as being read to.

Best of all? Most of the people who read at this one small library on this one chilly day in April asked, as they left, "This was fun! When can we do it again?"

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