Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Enthusiasm is Key!

With all the competition with TV, video games, DVDs, texting, and the whirlwind of life in general, it is more important than ever that teachers are commercials for reading. When you read aloud (and I hope all of you use this terrific teaching tool no matter what age you teach), use your voice, speed up at the intense parts, building to a climax, slow down and even pause when you hit the parts that need to be savored.

Think aloud while you read (so you show students how expert readers do it). Being conversational with interjections and questions occasionally does not impact the story line or detract from it. In fact, the more you do this, the better you get at it. When I read picture books to teachers, modeling this approach which I call "engaged reading", I ask them at the end if they lost the storyline and they always say "no". Because they were engaged in the story and the conversation surrounding it.

I'd love it if every one of you added a title you can do this with to the blog this week. Include the interest level!

I'll start: I'm beginning to read "The Desperado Who Saved Baseball" by John H. Ritter. I'd recommend anything John has written (great for upper elementary and middle school, on into high school).

Here's my list of the benefits of reading aloud. No other instructional activity I know touches so many levels:

Purposes for Read Aloud for 3rd Grade and Up

Pure enjoyment of great stories
Taking students to a different level of understanding of the story (Bloom’s
Taxonomy concepts)
Discussion and reinforcement of story elements
Reflecting on the text and searching for multiple meanings
Exploring the elements and format of print and story
Practicing and modeling specific comprehension strategies such as questioning,
predicting, clarifying
Building and activating background knowledge
Using inference
Understanding of the writing process, use of grammar, point of view,
writer’s voice, word choice and other writing-related skills.
Introducing and reinforcing vocabulary
Reinforcing content area learning and building background knowledge
Modeling and Practicing “think-aloud” and visualization
Introducing and/or reinforcing summarizing
Targeting a specific grade-level standard:_________________________

As we develop our list of books, I encourage you to pick one up and read it yourself. Just dive in and enjoy it. Later, after you've finished (and when you are closer to school beginning), go back and identify what you can teach by exploring this book with your students.

Happy Reading!

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