Picture this…a fourth grade teacher sitting on a high chair in the middle of her classroom of twenty-five students, eyes focused down on a book she was reading aloud to…
I saw this as I entered the room to teach writing after this teacher’s daily Read Aloud Time .
The students were seated at their desks but their eyes were gazing out the classroom windows, and the students appeared deaf to the story their teacher was reading to them.
When I first saw the teacher reading aloud I thought, “What a perfect introduction to story writing time.” I always suggest to students that the more they read the better they write.
Then I realized that no one was paying attention!
Mid-Week Focus this week features ideas I developed from this experience for…
…ways to revise Read Aloud Time to ensure that everyone participates and pays attention to the story being presented.
Check out these ideas and pick what’s best for your class…
Create a Chorus to Repeat the Story Theme – Reading aloud from a picture book or chapter book doesn’t have to be strictly verbatim.
When you’re preparing for Read Aloud Time you can write a new phrase to share with your class that captures the main idea of the story.
For example, you might write, “Joey knew that moving to California would be a challenge but he was ready, at least he thought he was ready.”
Before you begin to read the book you’ve selected, write the phrase on the board and explain to students that you’d like them to join in when you begin to say it aloud.
Kids will listen for your prompt and in doing so, pay closer attention to your reading.
You’ll need to decide ahead where to insert the phrase during your Read Aloud Time.
Offer Students Supporting Roles – Every story has a main character and most stories have characters who play a supporting role.
If you’re planning to read a picture book aloud to students in the early grades and you have a student whose attention tends to wander, you might invite him or her to be the voice of a supporting character during Read Aloud Time.
You may need to have that student stand by you and you may also want to prompt your co-reader with a few words of introduction like, “and then, the youngest rabbit said…”
Add Sound Effects – Every story has a setting. As you begin Read Aloud Time ask the class to listen for the sounds of the story.
Ask kids to add sound effects – For example, when you’re reading the amazing true story of Balto, the hero dog that delivered diphtheria antitoxin medicine to Nome, Alaska in 1925, and for whom the Iditarod dog race is named, invite the class to make the howling sounds of Huskies at your signal.
Add your own sound effects – If, for example, you’re reading a story about two kids who come upon an old run-down shack at the edge of a forest and dare each other to open the door, make a creaking sound as you read.
Stop and invite the class to repeat how the creaking door sounded. Inviting the class to participate in the delivery of a story aloud helps them stay focused on the reading.
Use Read Aloud Time to Introduce Children to the World – The popularity of Social Media today tends to teach children to focus on themselves and friends they
“like” in personal online circles. Some kids don’t even know that there’s a whole world out there!
Teachers can help students learn about the world by reading aloud multicultural stories; tales about cultures and languages other than their own.
When you select a story to share with your class that includes characters from other countries, use Google Translate to find a few phrases in the language of that country to teach your students.
Learning to speak different languages helps children learn about the world and develop communication skills – a key to success in the 21st century.
Read Aloud Time is special at school and at home. In a recent story I read about Beverly Cleary, who is now 97 years old, the beloved author noted that she wished more parents would read aloud today.
Describing the pleasure of hearing her mother read aloud in the evening when she was a child, Cleary recalled an era when some people like her didn’t even have a radio.
No distractions in that home so long ago, I thought to myself. Parents and teachers today sip from another cup of tea!
Look for another Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers on Monday. Please send comments; subscribe to Attentionology; and share this site with colleagues!
Talk with you again soon,
Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet