I tell my kids, "Reading is better than going to the movies." In fact, I say it often enough they can finish my sentence for me. Letting them in on the beauty of seeing the book like a movie in the mind is of course a key ingredient to reading enjoyment. The piece that I touch on but need to delve even further into is how the reader uses all the other senses at the same time. A reader who can do that is pretty much a goner. They're lost in the book, which is exactly where I want them.
Today I introduced the idea that readers don't just visualize. They smell, taste, hear, and feel while they read. We practiced by way of four poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends, a chart, and some small post-its. For example, I asked them to think about what they could taste while I read "Eighteen Flavors" twice through. Then each one quickly wrote what they could taste on a post-it and attached it to our chart. I quickly reported on some of their answers, and we moved on to the next section. By the time we were finished, our chart looked like this.
I sent them off to Read to Self thinking about what they might smell, taste, hear, and feel during their own reading. After Read to Self time, a few readers shared. Carson could feel himself in the wind of the tornado he was reading about. "Wow! Only readers get to hang out in a tornado while sitting in a first grade classroom! How cool!"
This discussion is definitely not complete. We'll be returning to it repeatedly, because I want them fully and completely lost in their books...forever.
P.S. Here are the four poems I chose:
Eighteen Flavors - taste
Rain - hear
Pancake? - smell
Boa Constrictor - feel