Saturday, May 12, 2012

"Holler Loudly" in the Speech Room

A few weeks ago, during School Library Month, I posted about our elementary school library and shared a few pictures in hopes of generating support to keep ours open and healthy. Thank you all who responded to that plea! One response we especially enjoyed was a care package full of books from author Cynthia Leitich Smith. She included one of her own and I held onto it long enough to introduce it to my students before passing it on to our librarian.

School librarian, Allison Brown showing Holler Loudly to students

This rollicking fun picture book is about a child with a voice larger than the state of Texas where the author lives. His parents, Mama and Daddy Loudly, named him Holler because he cried so loud.

“So LOUD that the pecans fell from the pecan trees and the prickly pear cacti sprouted more needles. So LOUD that every hound dog in the county rolled up his ears and tossed back his head to bay. So LOUD the armadillos woke from their naps and the turkey vultures dropped their feathers.”

Talk about a whopping good tall tale – Holler Loudly is so GOOD that the pages practically turn themselves. So GOOD that the words flew out of the book and painted pictures in the minds of my students. So GOOD that the kids decided they’d write their own tall tales – and that’s no exaggeration (the last part anyway).

Holler’s voice is loud enough to take the roof off his house, send a catfish soaring and cause a hog stampede at the state fair. The illustrations by Barry Gott capture the mood perfectly and enhance the humor with cows and cars flying through the air on the wind of Holler’s voice. There’s a nice twist at the end of the book when his voice stops a tornado from destroying the town.

This was a fun book to use in speech. It gave the opportunity to compare and contrast, practice speech sounds, introduce new vocabulary words, and discuss pragmatics (the social use of language such as appropriate volume). When I showed my students Cynthia Leitich Smith had signed our book, they looked incredulous. Suddenly they understood the author was a real person. And if one real person could write a book so could another, even if that person was only five years old. I suggested we write the author a thank you note; they thought it was a nice idea, but first, they wanted to write their own books. All three students in this kindergarten group scrambled to gather their supplies. They folded, colored and wrested a few words onto their pages while dictating tales more elaborate than they were ready to write on their own. Their stories were so cute they could charm the chalk right off the chalkboard and set the desks to dancing!

Thank you Cynthia Leitich Smith for the care package and for the wonderful story.

1 comment:

  1. So thrilled that y'all enjoyed Holler's story! Thanks again for all you do for young readers!