In our last newsletter I talked about 10 Scary Superpowers. We all have them, but some of our powers could use a touch of polishing from time to time. Take for example, the power of storytelling or spell binding. Spell binding: You can capture any wiggling audience by reading/telling stories. I remember in San Diego, I was reading a picture book to a fourth grade class. As I read across my shoulder, I stumbled a bit. Finally a terribly talkative boy said to me, "Miss Ford. That book is too hard for you. You keep messing up the words." I thanked him for his concern, but also responded, "Actually Miss Ford is merely old and vain. I can't see across my shoulder without my reading glasses and today I was too vain to wear them." The moral of the story is : bring your glasses. Don't ruin the reading experience by being unprepared. Here are some other ideas that may help you polish your spell binding skills. •Be really familiar with the story. Practice reading across your shoulder. •Use an ebook or document camera to project the pages so everyone can see. •Use a microphone system so everyone can hear. •Read the story without any interruptions or commentary on the first read. Let them soak in the words and illustrations on their own. •Seriously, put wigglers in the back and/or give them paper and crayons or pencils to keep their hands busy while they listen. •Don’t use fake voices unless you’re really good at it. •Make eye contact—even with the back of the room. •Connect with the audience before you start by asking a question, sharing an object, or other scaffolding activity. •Choose your read-aloud wisely. Consider the artwork, the flow of the language, and the background knowledge required of the listener. •Make sure everyone is comfortable, the lighting is good, and children have time to settle down before you start. Try these titles for a great read aloud experience, but remember to practice first! BOELTS, Maribeth. A Bike Like Sergio's. illus. by Noah Z. Jones. 40p. Candlewick. 2016. ISBN 9780763666491. JLG Category: CBE Character Building Elementary (Grades 2-6). DAVIES, Jacqueline. Panda Pants. illus. by Sydney Hanson. 32p. Knopf. ISBN 9780553535778. JLG Category: PK PreKindergarten (Ages 2-5). DIPUCCHIO, Kelly. Dragon Was Terrible. illus. by Greg Pizzoli. Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. 2016. ISBN 9780374300494. JLG Category: K+ Kindergaren (Grades PreK-K). FLEMING, Candace. Giant Squid. illus. by Eric Rohmann. 40p. Roaring Brook. 2016. ISBN 9781596435995. JLG Category: NEK+ Nonfiction Early Elementary (Grades K-2). JOHN, Jory. Penguin Problems. illus. by Lane Smith. 32p. Random House. 2016. ISBN 9780375974656. JLG Category: P Primary (Grades K-1). KLASSEN, Jon. We Found a Hat. illus. by author. 56p. Candlewick. 2016. ISBN 9780763656003. JLG Category: P Primary (Grades 1-2). KRISHNASWAMI, Uma. Book Uncle and Me. illus. by Jullianna Swaney. 96p. Groundwood. 2016. ISBN 9781554988082. JLG Category: CE City Elementary (Grades 2-6). NOLAN, Janet. Seven and a Half Tons of Steel. illus. by Thomas Gonzalez. 36p. Peachtree. ISBN 9781561459124. JLG Category: Nonfiction Elementary (Grades 2-6). You might also check out the Lester L. Laminack's new book: The Ultimate Read-Aloud Resource. Scholastic. 2016. ISBN 9781338109252 What about you? What are your best storytelling/read aloud tips? What new favorite read alouds have you found for 2016?