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Monday, April 8, 2013

Say What?

Tomorrow will be my last day of reading Margaret Peterson Haddix's book Say What? to the second graders during information literacy time. Though reading the same chapters six times in a row can get boring for the reader, I must say their reactions to this story keep me as engaged as my listeners! I wish I had read it when my children were younger. The technique used by the parents to keep the kids in shape is ingenious.

Here is the premise: Kids are not listening to parents, so the parents respond to every misdeed with a comment that would be better uttered for a different misbehavior. For example, if a child reclines on the couch while still wearing muddy sneakers, the mother does not rant about getting off the couch. She might say, "No dessert until you clean your plate" or "Eat your vegetables." When the children in the story find the magazine article and get wise about "parentspeak", they make a list of all the things they say that annoy their parents. For one mixed-up evening, the family utters wrong statements back and forth, ultimately resulting in laughter. All of these must be universal because my second grade students nod, giggle, and say, "I've heard that one" or "I've said that" in response to the reading. 

Just the other day, I had the opportunity to respond to one student's misbehavior with a wrong statement, and just like that, the behavior and attitude changed. Say What? is really an excellent idea!


  1. Oh! How imaginative & funny! Fun to get into the book over & over, it is a bit like a stage actress, no? (I loved her book Running Out of Time, it was the 1st one of hers I'd read...)