The education landscape is changing and so is reading aloud stories to children. I remember reading Night Monster by Sushree Mishra, illustrated by Sanket Pethkar; Published by Karadi Tales, 2015. It is a story about feeling scared and overcoming the fear of the night which is the general outcome of the story (comprehension) but as a librarian, it’s important to look at other aspects of a picture book. 1. You can nudge students to look at other forms of expressions like notes, and letters to convey meaning. 2. At an international school, you can use the learner attitude of empathy. 3. You can explain the ATL skills of Communication or Thinking; creatively and problem-solving strategies used by the sister to help her little brother. Asking students, what are the different ways they have problem-solved in their lives using different approaches. 4. Describe Jarul Book Award and how this award empowers children to make an impact and that students have a voice in deciding the winner of the prize. 5. You could also analyze the style of drawing, asking why the illustrator might have chosen to use shades of blue and black; ask what medium has he used to draw his picture, how long must he have taken, and why did he choose different sizes of his objects while relating the story? Sanket Pethkar is a full-time illustrator and as a teacher-librarian, you can discuss his passion for art and how this could be a profession for some. It’s time to go beyond simply the understanding or comprehension of the story.

Another story I read aloud was the Cycle’s Dream by Prabhat(Author), Vidyut Roy (Illustrator) by Elavya (2013). This story was read to many age groups, the teacher nudged the children to think about the environment, the impact of oil on the world, the futuristic world and how it would look. This was followed by an engagement, where students were prompted to create a world in the future, they could either draw or write about their future world. It could be a fantasy or a futuristic science fiction. Again, a teaching moment for a teacher-librarian, when children could learn about different genres and how fantasy differs from science fiction.

Some of the students wanted to discuss the publication of this book and how it was made, students researched and wondered how long it took for the publisher to make this book since it was created in a special format made from recycled paper. Many publishers are willing and often respond to student questions should they intend to pursue their inquiry.

It’s so important to go beyond the comprehension level of the story. We all agree that children do understand stories, our job as teacher librarians are to look at picture books with a different lens and nudge them to think creatively and critically.

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