We came to a big day in our reading of ‘Winn-Dixie’ today; the day war is described as
(wait for it)
Yah, my students got to experience their teacher saying a bad word. And they responded dutifully with expressions of shock, fear, and disbelief. That was followed by a moment of silence. Then the lightbulbs went off and they all said, “Oh!”
Sound odd? Well, I use this moment in the book, Because of Winn-Dixie to underscore a point I have been making all year and the point is this: authors put stuff in their books for a reason, for a purpose, and our job as the reader is to discover why it was put in.
So at the beginning of Stone Fox, when the author compares the 10 years of a boy to the 10 years of a dog (one is young, one is not) there is a reason. And Dumbledore’s ‘Put-outer’ at the very beginning of ‘Sorcerer’s Stone’, there is a reason. And Winn-Dixie’s pathological fear of thunderstorms, there is a reason. Before I read the section of Winn-Dixie with the ‘h’ word, I told my class that there was going to be a bad word. And I told them that they would be shocked to hear me say it but I wanted them to think about why. Why did the author choose that word? What was her purpose?
So that is why my class reacted the way they did and that is why I love that part of Winn-Dixie, because it helps me make a point I have been teaching all year!