Guest reader delivers a good time and a Gruffalo

April 7, 2017 by

Ask any entertainer about how to capture an audience and they’ll tell you it’s all in the delivery. But having good material doesn’t hurt, either.

Ron Elniff, of Concordia, had both this morning as he took on the challenge of entertaining a room full of active preschoolers as the latest guest reader in the monthly Reading with Friends story time series at Neighbor to Neighbor in downtown Concordia.

Before the longtime school psychologist started in on the featured book, “The Gruffalo,” he gave the young readers tips on how to let books help them travel to distant and imaginary places.

“How would a mouse talk? High or low?” he asked the children. After a chorus of answers, Elniff advised the group, “You can make your story come alive if you use a different tone of voice for the different characters.”

“Like in animation?” one of the kids asked. Elniff agreed.

And he proceeded to do just that as he used  his voice to make the plucky mouse and the burly Gruffalo jump to life from the pages of the book. The story, by author Julia Donaldson with illustrations by Axel Scheffler, is an international best-seller with more than 13.5 million copies in print worldwide. It was voted England’s favorite bedtime story. The children received a free copy of “The Gruffalo” to take home.

The “Reading with Friends” story times are for children ages 3, 4 and 5. Each session includes playtime and a snack, as well as a book. Parents, grandparents and other caregivers may stay downstairs at the day center for women to enjoy coffee and snacks – but many choose to join their small charges upstairs to listen to the story.

The monthly program has been part of Neighbor to Neighbor’s regular offerings since September 2012. This was the final session for the 2016-17 school year. This year’s Reading with Friends series was funded in part by a grant from the Dane G. Hansen Fund, through the Community Foundation for Cloud County.

Sister Pat McLennon, a co-director of Neighbor to Neighbor, said that the group hopes to secure another grant to allow them to continue the popular program next year.

“We don’t have a grant yet,” she said. “But if we do get one we will start the program again in September.”

For more information on Reading with Friends, contact Neighbor to Neighbor at 785/262-4215 or email neighbortoneighbor@csjkansas.org.

 

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