Read Aloud with Janine LaManna
Let’s get ready to read. And sing!
World Read Aloud Day celebrates the power of reading aloud to create a feeling of community, a chance to celebrate stories, and advocate for literacy. This fun day of reading is celebrated on the first Wednesday in February. The day is dedicated not just to reading, but to the art, practice and magic of reading aloud.
Words on the page tell a story for a reader. We imagine places that are described and get to know characters by reading dialogue and observing character traits and actions. We can learn about events in history, people, and inventions.
The words on a page can be the story you read, or listen to, when someone reads a book out loud to a group of people. What happens when words are used with music? They are called lyrics and the words and music are what create a song.
Bryan Andes is a Kindergarten/First grade teacher at the Midtown West School PS212 on West 48th Street in New York City. He helps students discover the arts in their neighborhood community which includes Broadway theaters.
Andes takes his students to visit the theaters so they can meet all the professionals who work on the stage and behind the scenes of the shows. He also welcomes Broadway actors and professionals to meet his students in their exciting classroom.
One of the visiting actors recently was Janine La Manna. She is an actress who has starred on Broadway in musicals like “The Drowsy Chaperone,” “Ragtime,” “Kiss Me Kate,” and “Sweet Charity.” You can also see her as the ace detective in the television show “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?” Janine is the original Gertrude McFuzz in “Seussical” which is a show based on the stories of Dr. Seuss.
The musical is now performed by students all over the country. The role of Gertrude was created just for Janine by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty who are the lyricist and composer of the musical. They wrote the songs based on the stories from the books of Dr. Seuss.
Characters like Horton the Elephant, Mayzie the Bird, the Sour Kangaroo and the Wickersham Brothers all sing and dance using the words of Dr. Seuss that you know from their stories.
When Janine came to visit Andes and his students in his class, she read the story of Gertrude McFuzz and performed one of the songs her character sings in the show. You can follow along in the clips here and listen to the words as she reads the story of Gertrude and her one-feather tail.
Then you can hear how those same words are used with music as the lyrics of a song when Janine plays a ukulele and sings about Gertrude’s adventures.
The One Feather Tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz
Doo doo, doo doo, doo doo, doo doo doo doo…
There once was a girl bird named Gertrude McFuzz
And she had the smallest plain tail ever was
One droopy-droop feather, that’s all that she had
And oh, that one feather made Gertrude so sad
She curled it, she dyed it, she gave it a puff
She decked it with flowers
But it wasn’t enough
For no matter what
It just was what it was
A tail that simply wasn’t meant
To catch the eye of an elephant
The one feather tail of Miss Gertrude McFuzz
We celebrate the words of stories with Read Aloud in the month of February and all year long.
The words of a book tell a story on the page just as the words do for us in a song!
Oh, the thinks you can think!