One evening after supper, I curled up on the couch and asked my nephew Cole what book he would like me to read to him. From his stack of library books, he picked the classic Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.
The text was a little long for a two and half year old, so I read as expressively as I could and interspersed the story with dialogic reading in order to keep his attention. Half way through the story, my father joined us on the couch, and I insisted he finish the reading. My voice was a bit tired, and I thought that a new reader would bring new life to the story.
Indeed he did.
While my father read, he naturally added sound effects and physical interactions with Cole (tickling, tapping, etc). He easily modified the text; he repeated phrases and added humorous comments or explanations that would engage Cole's imagination but also make adults (like me) chuckle.
I was in awe. I was entertained. I felt grateful.
My father is an amazing educator, and I now see how his storytelling proficiency inspired my own interest in stories, reading, and ultimately learning.
I hope to get a few of his animated and humorous story readings on video for posterity.