remembering Maurice Sendak

Maurice Sendak
One of the many varied jobs I have had in my life was working as a Reading Instructor for the Institute of Reading Development in southern California.  The program was in its infant stages and hired a bunch of us young ne'er do wells, trained us hard for 2 weeks, then unleashed us on the unsuspecting public for 6 week long crash courses on improving reading speed, reading comprehension, fluency and study skills.  Wow.  Now IRD has a cool website, a defined curriculum and nationwide affiliates !!

I taught all age groups from kindergarten to adult.  We used a variety of different books, selected per age group, to teach these varied skills.  For the little guys we used my most fav book of all time:  Maurice Sendak's  Where the Wild Things Are.  Kids just respond so positively to the story of Max who gets sent to his room with no supper for being a Wild Thing.  Like most good children's books, it has simple phrases that are repeated often throughout the story.  And when you read the book out loud (always 'model' the reading first for your students) and 'act' it out for the kids, well gosh - they really thought I was the bees knees!  Eventually I'd have the kids repeating key phrases with me as we 'read aloud' together and marching through the classrooms channeling their inner 'wild things.'  It was great fun.  (All the acting and repeating key phrases help to improve young children's reading comprehension and fluency skills.)

Sadly, Maurice Sendak died on May 8, 2012 at the age of 83.  NPR's Fresh Air  has a lovely article remembering Maurice splicing together a number of different interviews Sendak did with NPR over the years.  It is hard to believe Where the Wild Things Are has celebrated its 50th year in publication.

Go HERE to read the article or to listen to the broadcast - you won't be disappointed.



J Cosmo Newbery said...

Amen! (In an atheistic sort of way)

goatman said...

It seems it is the open, gentle, damaged souls who can only present to the kids honestly -- which they move towards.
I like how he would leave a proposed son at the A&P as long as he could be assured that the kid would be taken care of; and how he wanted the attraction of a daughter.

red dirt girl said...

Cosmo ~ I will second that.

goatman ~ yes. I never would have guessed that he grew up with such a sense of his own mortality. I see 'childhood' to be the provenance of believing that everything including yourself lasts forever.