100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

I Have Read Aloud Hand


File this under Tragic Librarian Problems.

I started noticing my hand hurt last week and I had no idea why.

“Huh, my index finger is sore.”

It continued on during the week, and I was confused.

“Strange. My index finger and my hand are sore. Still.”

Yesterday, after seven read aloud times I finally came up with a diagnosis: Read Aloud Hand.



Mildly sore fingers

An inability to figure out why fingers are sore


Hold book in opposite hand when reading aloud

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. :) HAH! I have read aloud shoulder, didn’t diagnose myself but was lectured by dr. after finally solving. Treatment? Rotate hands holding the books and tuck elbow into waist. Plus stop being so enthusiastic when showing the pictures…

  2. oh my word…yep yep yep. did try the opposite hand thing. was a bit of a wash, but will keep on trying and apply the tuck elbow to waist method.

  3. I honestly don’t know if I could switch hands. That would take a lot of practice, like writing with my opposite hand.

  4. Kurt--strohreads says:

    It is a hazardous job that we have!

  5. I have a solution–use a document camera. I do all of my picture book read alouds in the library on the document camera, and I love how I can zoom in to show illustration details. Everyone can see the story, and I avoid the dreaded Read Aloud Hand syndrome. :-)

  6. Ha! I noticed my right thumb was sore. It just ached and I wondered if it was arthritis or something. I couldn’t figure it out until I picked up the rather large young adult book again.

  7. Student book holder!

  8. nancy essid says:

    I second the document camera Idea. I finally got one for many reasons but Read Aloud Hand was one of them. The kids love it. They can ALL see the pictures and words. It really makes a difference for the kids and my hand. I wish I had done it sooner for my hand and my students.

  9. Laura Wylie Fiallos says:

    I SO suffer from this, although in my case it is Read Aloud Arm Syndrome (also self-diagnosed). I occasionally try switching arms, but it just doesn’t feel right. I’m going to try Ed’s suggestion of student book holder (also a great way to involve the non-engaged student).

  10. Ha! I currently suffer from School Visit Voice. As a writer, I spend most days largely in silence, talking mostly online. But since I did a school visit Thursday, I have my usual post-visit scratchy throat and cranky-old-man voice. Maybe we need to collect all book-related afflictions into one big helpful medical dictionary:>)

  11. I guess I’m the only one who naturally switches sides back and forth as I read? Just for variety? As I’m moving around so much? And now I feel smug — it avoids the dangers of Read Aloud Hand!

  12. Chelsea C. says:

    I developed tendonitis from my year of Newbery reading – apparently I have a tendency to clench books with my right hand. Now I know!

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