Maria Ciampi, a lawyer, mother and author, has made it her personal campaign to get families back together through “read-aloud” evenings.
“It’s not just reading stories to each other, it’s the whole experience,” she explains. “It’s a time of sharing and for fun – even for the youngest members who are not able to read yet.” Ciampi, author of Kris Kringle, a heart-warming Christmas READ-ALOUD BOOK that can be acted out by a group of friends or family, offers these tips for successful family reading adventures:
1. Make reading night a special event. Gather the family on the couch, build a fire in the fireplace and pop some popcorn.
2. Don’t just read – act out. Try different voices and facial expressions for each character in the story. Make sound effects (knocking, sneezing, slamming doors)
3. Take your time. Laugh, comment, and discuss. The book doesn’t have to be finished in one night.
4. Little ones can be actors who perform actions in the story as they are described such “tip toeing into the room” or “hiding under the table.”
5. Collect props or costumes or use dolls and stuffed animals for characters. Let imagination go wild.
6. For extra exploration, pause occasionally to talk about what everyone thinks will happen, or what they want to see happen. Invite dialogue and discussion.
7. As a read-aloud night becomes a family tradition, let different members choose the books. Younger ones can pick storybooks, or teens can pick youth classics. Classic Christmas stories – and books like Kris Kringle – can add to the family holiday memory bank for years to come.
Ciampi says that a weekly read-aloud is something her family never misses, and her own book, Kris Kringle, is the current unanimous family Christmas selection. “But watch out,” she warns, “Read-alouds are addictive. I’ve heard my boys turn down invites to game nights because they want to stay home and read with us!”
Maria Ciampi, author of Kris Kringle, is a successful Wall Street lawyer and litigator. Ciampi truly is a “lawyer’s lawyer” as her firm specializes in representing partners in disputes with their law firms.
Prior to practicing law, Ciampi was a law school professor and scholar. She attended St. John’s University School of Law, where she was a St. Thomas More Scholar and Law Review editor. She was also valedictorian at Fordham University, giving her valedictory speech in ancient Greek.
As the youngest of seven children growing up in a poor, crime-ridden neighborhood in the Bronx, Ciampi not only had an intense determination to succeed, but was also exceptionally creative and imaginative. Although her apartment building was set on fire by an arsonist when she was 16 and the Son of Sam shot her classmate on the night of her high school graduation, these events never dimmed her creative spark or her belief in the best in people.
Ciampi’s creativity and imagination first presented themselves in her professional writing in the field of law where she used elements of fiction writing and offered a unique vision concerning vital legal issues. Ciampi has authored two law school textbooks; one of these textbooks, The Question Presented, has been used as a part of the curriculum at Harvard Law School. Many law review articles Ciampi has written on human rights issues have been relied upon in courts throughout the country. Ciampi particularly treasures an appellate case won before the New York State Court of Appeals and cited in law school textbooks.
Most recently she has turned her creativity, imagination and love of writing to the children’s field. Her current literary work, Kris Kringle, is “A Read-Aloud Movie for Kids Young & Old” and the first book of its genre. It is a classic Christmas tale with a modern twist and was inspired by her favorite author, Charles Dickens, her ideal lawyer, Daniel Webster, and her Christmas birthday. This charming and innovative story is about the beauty of love, forgiveness and a sense of belonging.
Ciampi lives in Westchester County, New York and plans to continue her successful practice while writing more children’s tales with the support of her husband and two children.