When a new book is published, I have to 'learn' how to read it. It takes a while before I warm up to a story.
I find places where I can pause and ask questions, or get the children to participate; I discover where the kids like to point things out; I practice the character's voices: where to be loud, where to whisper; I learn what little jokes I can tuck in.
I also like to devise activities, songs etc to 'add value' to the reading and make it more of an active experience.
I have been looking over Bears on the Stairs this week, getting my head together for the first readings, when it's published in August.
When I was in Birmingham recently, I caught a few minutes of a performance by Chris White and was inspired by the hilarious way he used audience chanting and clapping to read his poetry (he does a very passable Elvis impersonation too).
So, 'borrowing' that basic idea (thanks Chris), I have devised a funny chant poem that I hope will work really well after we've read Bears on the Stairs (including references to a hairy bum, whiffy feet, nose picking and gross burps - should be a huge hit with the average 7 year old).
I will try it out at the next school I visit... teachers beware!