100 Scope Notes
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An Exhaustive List of My Pathetic Read Aloud Injuries


You might think that reading books aloud is an easy gig. Hold the book. Read the words. Absorb the love from the adoring audience (all while playing it off like, “It’s nothing, really”).

You are wrong.

Reading books aloud is a physical challenge on the level of Over the Top, only more challenging.

If it weren’t, how do you explain this long list of ailments I suffer from as a result of reading aloud?

Sore Throat

Every year I transition from saying approximately 100 words per day in the summer to over 10,000,000 per day as a school librarian. As a result, my throat quickly becomes a raw sound cavern used for honking out stories that I hope are decipherable by the students in my charge.

Sore Neck

I want you to try something. Sit up nice and straight. Now turn your head to the left. Now keep it there for a bunch of hours every day. What you will find is that your head will eventually tell you “Well, it’s about time I fall off now”.

Sore Bottom

I have to say it. At times when it’s gotten really bad I’ve tried reading aloud while standing up, which it one of the most ridiculous things a person can do and looks kinda like this.

Sore Arm

What if bullfighters didn’t just hold up those capes during the bull fight, but for the majority of the day? They would need that Shaq icy hot electrode machine just to brush their teeth. That’s me.

Sore Hand

Look, I’ve covered this one before, so I don’t want to belabor the point, but after years of desperately clinging on the very bottom edge of books (so as not to interfere with the pictures) my hand is a shell of its former self.

And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In the comments, please list any pathetic read aloud injuries you’ve suffered.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Maria White says:

    I suffered a big, juicy, bloody papercut while reading aloud a book about sharks. It appeared the sharks in the book had bitten me.

  2. I deal with chronic laryngitis and it’s always entertaining when the flare ups line up with my storytime schedule…often resulting in a painful, squeaky whisper…which on the plus side results in the kids being super quiet! (which in and of itself is impressive, since the two age groups I work with year round are the PreK and Toddler 2 groups from the campus daycare). I have also been almost knocked over (yay for door frames, chairs, etc.) by all of the little kids coming to give me or the storytime mascot (a stuffed frog) hugs and high fives. There have also been the occasional pulled muscle and stubbed toe from moving our short little (and heavy) tables for coloring time and jammed fingers and flair ups in repetitive stress injuries/carpal tunnel in my wrists. And I wouldn’t have it any other way…those kids and their storytime sessions one of the high points in my week!

  3. I’ve smacked myself in the face switching the book from one side to the other many times. That’s always really fun…

  4. Sigrid Hudson says:

    The vision in one of my eyes is weaker than the other: a result, I believe, of reading books to one side at arm’s length for over 20 years!

  5. I routinely give myself a headache during our nighttime read aloud! Apparently I put so much into the voices that I forget to breath. Or maybe I’m one of those people who truly can’t do two things at one time.

  6. Sometimes I stand up to help monitor behavior during a read aloud. One time, as I went to sit back down, I miscalculated where the chair was and ended up on the floor. The kids all ran to see if I was okay and I felt like a football on the bottom of pile up. :)