Friday, May 22, 2015

In Defense of Read Aloud: Sustaining Best Practice #bookaday 5/22

My favorite thing to do as a classroom teacher is to read aloud.  There is magic in the stories we share together, as a community, through a class read aloud. This year, we've read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, The One and Only Ivan, The Hundred Dresses, James and the Giant Peach and countless picture books.  Though we sat in Room 215, we were on an ocean liner with Edward Tulane and Abilene, in a cage with Ivan, and floating in a magical peach with enchanted creatures.  If I believe in anything as a teacher, I believe in the power of reading aloud to students. 

So you can see, I came to Dr. Steven L. Layne's In Defense of Read Aloud: Sustaining Best Practice, already a believer.  He didn't have to convince me- but he did.  If you are looking for research-based reasons to defend reading aloud to students of all ages, you will find it in this book.  More than just research, this book radiates heart and was fun to read.  One of my favorite parts was when teachers wrote to authors about books that made a difference in their classroom and the authors' letters back.  The one by Katherine Patterson regarding Bridge to Terabithia is unforgettable.  

Some other take-aways for me, including lists of books that make great read-alouds:

  • Teachers need to stop being genre-haters and expose students to all different types of genres through read alouds.  I have to work on this.  I'm a realistic fiction type of gal and I need to plan more read alouds across many genres.
  • Choose some read alouds that are higher level than the students can read independently but be flexible enough to include read alouds that tell stories your students need to hear, no matter the level. 
  • Don't forget the boys! Be mindful to pick books that will hook boys in, too. 
  • End your read aloud a few days before a school break.


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