I had a mom and her three kids over for a playdate. All five kids were having fun together playing with toys and then they found a book that they wanted me to read to them. That was fine; I told them all to sit in front of me on the floor while I read it. The book was “The Day the Babies Crawled Away” by Peggy Rathmann.
The kids were being great, but the mom started to stare at me in a weird way. I felt uncomfortable. She then interrupted and said “Excuse me, not sure if you’re aware of this trick.” Here we go, why did I need a trick, what was I doing wrong? She made me self-conscious. She said, “While you’re reading, pretend that someone is staring at you and watching you read every word, this will get you to really pay attention to the story, and you’ll make every word pop.” Was this lady for real? What was I doing wrong? Was I not being enthusiastic enough? I became nervous. I didn’t need to pretend that someone was staring at me, someone was!
I was incredibly uncomfortable at this point and could not wait to finish the book. She interrupted again, I was almost done with the reading, had only two pages left. She said “Ok, I feel the difference in your words, make the last pages have a real impact, ask the kids what they think will happen next!” This was terrible, I felt so self-conscious. I finished the book and she yelled “Brava! You’re getting there.” The kids went off to play and the mom started to critique me. She said I need to speak louder while reading to children and be more enthusiastic. I couldn’t believe this.