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How To Get Inside A Book

When Rebecca Bellingham was reading Charlotte’s Web to her third grade class, and told the tear-jerking story of a young girl saving a runt from the slaughter house, her student Joey said something that has stuck with her until today.

Joey said to her “I felt like I was really there, like I could really see that pig!”.  No, there was no pig in the classroom, but rather the act of reading aloud to children gave them the freedom to think and get lost in the story.

Bellingham explains that for some kids, dealing with letters and tricky wordsis a more difficult process. In fact, trying to sort through jumbles of letters and words can take up so much brain energy that there isn’t enough left to understand the story. Because of this, children go through pages just translating the words.

Reading aloud to children of any age does not halt their comprehension skills, it strengthens it. Being read aloud to teaches kids to  stop and ask questions and wonder. It also teaches and gives the ability to walk in the shoes of someone who is radically different from them. And, if the character is just like them, it can help kids feel less alone.

This movement does not have to stop at age 5 or 6. As children get older, they start sharing less with us. Creating moments of connection in kids of all ages will help get inside of them. Together, we can learn to look up and ask questions.

Rebecca Bellingham began her career as a teaching artist working at Elementary Schools in the South Bronx; she has been teaching in some capacity for over 20 years.

Since her talk, Rebecca has moved to sunny San Diego with her family. In San Diego, she performed October Sky at the Old Globe and has acted in numerous off-broadway and regional theaters around the country. She loves to return to New York to ride the subway, see theatre, and walk the streets of the city.

Rebecca runs her own website where she has written more about the power of reading aloud. Top secret information, but she may have a book being published in 2019. To learn more, read her posts HERE and watch her talk HERE.

Thank you Rebecca for being a motivational and strong role model for the TEDxBeaconStreet community; we can’t wait to see what you accomplish next! #GirlPower