Miranda Hernandez ( left) and Isabelle Flukiger (right) sing the theme song for Spongebob Squarepants in the Agassiz Christian School gym during a literacy presentation by children's author Sigmund Brouwer on Monday afternoon.

Rock and roll brings life to literacy

Author uses music to inspire young students

People are “wired for story,” a prolific children’s writer told a group of Agassiz students on Monday.

Author Sigmund Brouwer used a combination of storytelling and music – really, really loud music – to get Agassiz Christian and Kent elementary students jazzed about writing.

Good music taps into your feelings, he told them, and good stories do, too.

“How does this one make you feel?” he asked the kids before each snippet of a song. With a touch of his ipod, he would then play bits of Bad to the Bone, a disco remix of Beethoven’s Fifth, and even the Spongebob Squarepants theme song . Throughout the one-hour presentation, Brouwer played scary music, silly music, and plenty of rock and roll to underline his point.

Stories are what set us apart from the herd.

A good story should capture a reader’s emotions, he said, and people are telling stories to each other all the time.

Brouwer has a solid list of children’s books to his name, and he told the students how stories he’s heard in his life have been turned into chapters in those books, by taking the original story and altering them with his imagination. He’s drawn on his own experiences in school, and in the hockey rink, to tell captivating stories that are growing in popularity in school libraries.

But his most recent book, Rock and Roll Literacy, is a teachers’ guide to cultivating reading and skills. In the presentation he told the students how to “mess with your teacher” by building a tale that just gets more and more interesting.

In the end, each student was also given three e-books, readable on an ipad and ipod Touch. For more information on Brouwer’s program, visit www.rockandroll-literacy.com .

news@ahobserver.com