Yesterday, I had the pleasure to see and experience Tony reading one of his free verse stories about the Vikings. The children, classes 5 and 6 of Wigginton Primary School, have already done some work on the Vikings and know a lot about their life style and war techniques. Tony read the story, written in free verse and told by a first person narrator, to the children. He used gestures and varied the sound of his voice to make it as authentic as possible. To my mind, the children were really fascinated and engaged in the story. They got the chance to feel what the young protagonist felt. After having finished the first part, Tony asked the children what might happen next. There were a lot of different ideas about how the plot could go on - the young Viking could be the hero, a dog could be the important figure in the story, the father could be either loving or hart-hearted... When Tony continued reading the story the children were very quiet, eager to get to know which direction the story was heading to. At one of the most interesting and exciting points... time was over and Tony stopped. The children got the chance to either finish the story by writing the end or by doing a little drama. Both classes did a very good job in creating possible endings. There were no limits to creativity and especially the children doing drama were again really involved in the story and incredibly good at playing the characters. I believe that the lesson was a very good one. The children got involved and were happy with listening first and becoming active afterwards. Here is what the teacher thinks about Tony's lesson:
"Thank you, Tony. It was so inspiring having the author share such a gripping story. Listening to it told in the first person pulled us into the emotions of Urkin. There were so many ideas about how the sotry may continue. The children were hooked."