Do you want to become a Read-Aloud Ninja?
I never knew they existed until yesterday.
Yes, this is the art of breaking down the walls that separate you from your listener without moving a single finger.
It really does. Just look at Tom Matlack who courageously admitted that reading Dr. Seuss turned around his life as a Chief Financial Officer in a major company.
He made the mistake of trying to run a company with 3000 employees without becoming a Read Aloud Ninja first.
But, wait, we are getting off track.
Do you want to know what it takes to get a read-aloud black belt?
The process of becoming a read-aloud master can be broken down into four simple stages.
1. Beginner Stage
If you feel silly reading a children's book aloud - even when no one else is in the room, make no mistake, you are still on the first rung of read-aloud mastery.
It's that funny feeling that you had during school plays, all over again.
Only this time, you are the star of a play with no director, no supporting actors, no scenery.
Listen. Do you think your voice sounds strange when you read aloud?
Don't worry - it does.
Maybe it will sound better if we get the kids in the room.
2. Ultimate Fight Stage
You must approach your first read-aloud sessions, like you would enter an ultimate fight match.
Ultimate fights usually end either in submission (one opponent clearly submits) or knockout (an opponent is put into a state of unconsciousness).
In the beginning you may have to submit frequently to your restless kid and stop reading when he gets bored with your uninspiring delivery.
Keep training. All hope is not lost.
As your bedtime technique improves and your kid gets used to your voice - you will be proud how often you are able to put your "opponent" in a state of unconsciousness!
It is time to feel proud indeed.
It is time to feel proud indeed.
You are now ready to move on to the next stage.
3. "Undiscovered Star" stage
Yes, you are feeling comfortable now.
You've been reading for some time now to your amazed audience.
It's almost magic. The kid swallows your every word ... and his interest (and eyes) gets bigger every day.
You feel like an undiscovered Ted Williams, the homeless guy with the golden radio voice.
Where is the Columbus Dispatch now to help you "go viral" you as you hypnotise your young listener every night? Where is the camera to recor......
Things change in a second when your wife/husband enters the room. The self-confidence evaporates as if in a puff of smoke... You are self-aware again.
You unmistakeably read in her eyes: "My friends were right all along, he is a weirdo".
But keep going. All is not lost.
Simply continue making a jackass out of yourself in front of the kids - and your read-aloud performance will improve.
Next time it will be your friend, mother, father-in-law who walk in on your energetic read-aloud session ... you will feel awkward.
But every time, less and less so.
Weirdo or not, the kids love it!!
Yes, you are starting to behave like a real star!
Boy, before you know it ..... it's graduation time again.
4. Read-Aloud Ninja stage
The mysterious nature of the ninja has long captured popular imagination in Japan and the world.
Some legendary abilities include invisibility, walking on water, and control over natural elements.
OK, forget the last two.
Concentrate on invisibility. It provides you with the first and foremost clue of your new status as a Read-Aloud Ninja.
Remember this rule. I will never repeat it.
You will become a true Read-Aloud Ninja the first time when all of the following five conditions are fulfilled:
1. "BLACK CLOTHES" - you find yourself in a public arena (bus, picnic, airport, etc.) where you read aloud to your kids in full exhilaration - in the presence of other people.
No one glances at you twice. Your enthusiasm looks normal. You blend.
2. SILENCE - during your reading session you don't hear anything - except the squeals of pleasure from your kids. Nothing else that is happening around you is audible
3. INVERSE STEALTH - your kids no longer see that their ice cream is melting, Santa Claus just arrived - no one cares, chocolate cakes are being served but the kids ignore them, their favourite cartoon is on.... your dear little pumpkin turns off the TV just to hear "one more chapter".
They are spellbound with your reading.
4. SKILLS IN ALL TYPES OF COMBAT - you honed your skills with the help of a range of books. From picture books to chapter books, from wordless books to poetry.
You know all the techniques. You can correctly estimate the weight of a picture book treasury in less than half a second. You know which books will be chosen by your kids for tonight's reading session although it is still breakfast time. You are a master of all trades.
5. BEING NINJA - suddenly - in a fleeting second while turning a page - you detect in your kid's loving gaze that he was convinced all along you were his own Read-Aloud Ninja.
This realization floors you. You are overpowered with emotions.
Yesterday, for a second, I was convinced that I reached Ninja status.
Now, I'm no longer so sure. (Was my mind playing tricks on me?)
Does anyone know what comes after this level?
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