Home Away From Home Interactive Readings

Home Away From Home: Reflecting on Interactive Readings

Posted 29 April 2016 12:00 AM by Jeremy Gooden

When I was a boy, my mother would tell me stories about the annual The Wizard of Oz telecast of the 60’s and 70’s. How her mother rounded up the entire family and sat them down in the living room. How she and her sister peered at the tiny black and white screen, and were transported to a world of witches, wizards, and wonder. The magic. The possibilities. The awe.

This spring’s Interactive Reading actively engaged young people in L. Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz, which tells the story of a girl from Kansas who is sent hurtling into the far away Land of Oz. It is an imaginative tale that teaches the importance of friendship, self-esteem, and appreciation of home. What better story to share with young people?!

For 3 weeks in the month of April, children from various Boston community centers, preschools, and afterschool programs were encouraged (by the CPAC Education staff) to use song, dance, and theatre as modes of storytelling. During the readings, I saw the wonderment my mother spoke of in the faces of the little ones as they sprung to life and embodied L. Frank Baum’s unique characters. The auditoriums, classrooms, and reading rugs transformed into creative spaces. They felt fun. They felt warm. They felt safe. Like home.

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