A project to encourage family reading and to collect information
about the impact of reading literature aloud.
When you plan your summer activities this year, plan to include time
to read aloud a classic in literature. To Kill a Mockingbird
by Harper Lee
When: Summer 2004 (Complete by Aug 31, 2004)
Who: For families with students in Middle School (Age
approximately 11-15) although we gladly accept participation from
older children. If families also have younger children who want to
participate, please review the text prior to be certain that your
child is prepared for the subject matter.
Why: As children grow it’s common for reading aloud together
to cease. Children in this age group are solidifying their own
ideologies. Family exploration of literature is not only a wonderful
way to share experiences, it is a way to communicate family values.
As children enter adolescence the project also offers parents the
opportunity to focus on their listening skills and reinforce their
willingness to listen.
Why this Book: One of the best-loved stories of all time, To
Kill a Mockingbird has earned many distinctions since its original
publication in 1960. It won the Pulitzer Prize, has been translated
into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies
worldwide, and has been made into an enormously popular movie. In
1999, librarians across the country gave the book the highest of
honors by voting it the best novel of the twentieth century. The main
characters are a young girl and boy in early adolescence, a character
for every child to relate to. In addition, this is an enjoyable book
with only two main story lines.
What might be the arguments against reading this book? To
Kill a Mockingbird has been banned by some library systems and
schools because of controversy in how it dealt with racial issues.
Some object to the portrayal of white southern prejudice, or believe
the portrayal of the black as stereo-typical. The book contains an
assault that is mildly referred to as sexual, although most adults
will understand that rape is alluded to. The “N” word is used.
Plenty of controversy is also good for discussion.
Overview : As a family, choose how you will read the book
aloud—you can also do this as you go. To Kill a Mockingbird is
written at about a 9th grade level, so younger children may find the
text challenging to read aloud and prefer not to be readers. Children
may want to begin the reading and then turn the book to a parent after
a page, or when they are ready. Whoever wants to read, should be able
to do some of the reading.
Note: Some families are reading the book on car trips--(Turn
off the car DVD, or read the book on the way there, watch the movie on
the way home!)
Read -Aloud Guidelines
short version: Read the book aloud, complete and return the survey)
* Start whenever your family is ready, and planned so you will have
time to complete the text prior to the end of August.
* Please read regularly so you don’t lose connection to the text.
* Build time for discussion into reading sessions at least three
different times, if you need help with discussion topics a guide is
* Let each participant who wants to read be a reader.
* Do your best to have conversations be equal in terms of the amount
of time each family member spends talking. If you are generally a
talker, try harder to spend time listening. If you tend to have
little to say, try to talk more than usual.
* Each member must commit to respecting the others opinions and agree
not argue or yell. If you do not find any differences of opinion,
perhaps everyone isn’t being open.
* After you’ve read the book, we ask each participant, not just each
family (children and parents) to complete a Response
Parents may assist children, but the words should be the childrens’.
Thank-You for being a part of increasing knowledge about literature