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When a library read-aloud session inspires creative expression...Spellbound by Nalini Sorensen

I started my class by reading the first chapter of a book. I didn’t tell my students the title or the author. I just read aloud the entire first chapter which describes one character in the book. “Close your eyes”, I said, picture her. “Pay attention to the words and the figures of speech that the author is using to paint the character.” Although their eyes were closed, I could see their expressions change. A titter of laughter here, a cringe or a skewed nose there. I stopped reading and asked if they could picture her. Weyona, the witch featured in that chapter. “She was so clear Aunty! It was like a photograph. “ . Then I challenged them to create their own villains, anti-heroes of sorts. Using Nalini Sorensen’s Weyona from her newest book SPELLBOUND published by Scholastic. Encouraging them to use a range of figures of speech and adjectives to create each villain, I told them to focus on creating first, spellings and grammar second. I feel the library is where they can let their creativity flow. And oh how they were inspired!! . We shared our villains by the end of the class, and what absolutely devious and delightful villains they came up with!! Plus a request to read to them the rest of the book. . So the next week, a 45 minute period, I had silence and all ears as I read aloud the rest of the book.

“ It’s almost a Fairy Tale but its not”...had me reminding them about our exploration of fractured fairytales. “It has a down to earth, realistic feel to it.” “I thought Freddy was rude, and I’m glad that Weyona did what she did.” “I loved the part where Weyona is cleaned, and her ‘blink, blink, blinking”. “I think it’ll make a very good movie.” “I loved the story because I just couldn’t imagine what was coming next.” “I like this author’s style of's like a conversation.” “It kept me in suspense, more and more suspense.” “Loved the ending” “Happily ever after can mean so many different things!”

What is Spellbound about? Wicked, mean, warty witch....check. Beautiful princess ...cross that out....Beautiful, intelligent, kind witch...check. Handsome prince...check. Prince turns into frog....check. Then what's different? Nalini describes her characters clearly and paints a vivid empowering read, my students delighted at her concept of 'happily ever after.'

Slide to read a few of the responses.

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