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One Audio Book and A Variety of Interpretations

The Paper Boy written by Dav Pilkey set the ball rolling for a lot talking at the Young Readers' Club. The Young Readers made connections with what they know and learnt new ideas/perspectives.

Listening to audiobooks is a great way to learn the importance of intonation and expression while reading aloud. As a bonus good quality audio books enable children to develop a more positive association with books.

Two different groups at the Young Readers Club talked about this book

Group 1:

Initial analysis

We always take time to observe a book cover before we begin reading it or as in this case listening to it.

Here is an interesting guess that came up:

  • It is about a boy who is made of paper.

Few other young readers pointed out that it is a real person and it is someone who delivers newspapers.

Has anyone seen a paperboy in real life? There were murmurs and then they all shook their heads except one young reader who said that she has seen one and always imagined that he was a superhero.


"Yes!" she says eagerly. "That's because I have seen him drop the newspaper outside the door and run down the stairs really fast as if he does not want to be recognized!" There were smiles on all the young reader's faces. Her idea sounded nice.

Why is he delivering newspapers in the dark?

"May be because children need to read news before they go to school. In my school we are asked to share news."

"Maybe this boy needs to go to school too," said another.

"People like reading news first thing in the morning with a cup of coffee. So it needs to be delivered before everyone gets up."

To see if the book could answer that question we listened to the audiobook.

Listening to the audiobook: There was silence which is unusual and that happens only during silent reading. When the recording ended, a young reader smiled and said, "I really liked this book. Nothing goes wrong. It is a simple and nice story."

What would it be like to be a paperboy? Is it a difficult job?

"Must be difficult. He has to carry so many newspapers."

"How many newspapers does he need to carry?"

"I will tell!" said an eager young reader. "Let's take the example of our community. There are over 200 apartments which means over 200 newspapers!"


"Nah that can't be true! that is a lot."

Another young reader adds, "Some people even ask for more than one newspaper and different people ask for different newspapers. How does a paper boy know which house which paper?"

"He must be writing it down," answers another young reader.

A paperboy's job isn't easy. The session ended on that note.

When the recording ended, a young reader smiled and said, "I really liked this book. Nothing goes wrong. It is a simple and nice story."

Group 2:

Initial analysis

This group knew about who a paperboy is.

"He is the boy who delivers newspapers," said one of the young readers.

"Why is that dog following him? Is it a stray dog who wants to be adopted?"

"This book is not set in India. It is set abroad, going by the way the houses look and the boy is wearing a helmet while riding a cycle."

"It is perhaps very early in the morning. The sun is yet to rise."

"Must be difficult riding a bicycle with a heavy load of newspapers."

"He must be poor. So he needs to deliver newspapers to earn a little money."

A particularly imaginative young reader chose to think differently. "I think this boy is going to unravel a mystery in this neighborhood. Something is about to happen in the wee hours of the morning," she said.

"Could that be the story?" the rest wondered.

Listening to the audiobook:

When the recording ended, a young reader feeling a little said, said, "I was wrong about the dog. It is not a stray but his own dog."

How would it be to leave a warm bed to get out into the cold?

"Very difficult. I can't do it," said one young reader. Another added, "If it were me, I would have slipped further under the blanket and gone back to sleep."

When he gets a chance to go back to sleep, what will he dream about?

"He will dream about what it would be like to be wake up at the same time as everyone else." The session ended on that note.

Overall average rating given by the group was 4.5 stars.


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