Reading As Listening – Encourage Kids to Use Ears with Eyes Reading

Karen Walsh with her class' reading circle at UNIS, Hanoi, Vietnam, encourages students to listen for the voice of an author as they read.

Karen Walsh with her class’ reading circle at UNIS, Hanoi, Vietnam, encourages students to listen for the voice of an author as they read.

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

Something about the death last week of Maya Angelou (details about Maya below) got me thinking about a new way to help children embrace reading…

How?

Present reading as an opportunity to listen as well as see.

Attention-Getter – Encourage kids to use their ears as well as their eyes when they are reading a book independently or together in small groups.

Students follow a teacher's prompt to use their ears as well as their eyes when reading a book.

Students follow a teacher’s prompt to use their ears as well as their eyes when reading a book.

Details please…

Maya Angelou, one of America’s beloved poets and authors, had a very distinct voice.

You may be familiar with the life of  Maya Angelou, who was 86 when she died.

If you’ve ever heard her speak in person, on stage, in TV or online clips, you’ve heard her powerful, gravely sound.

Having heard her actual voice, it’s possible to catch Dr. Angelou’s distinguished timbre when you read her printed works, including the autobiography that first made her famous, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings.” (As you likely know, this work is not age-appropriate for elementary school children. I’m citing Maya Angelou because of her distinct voice.)

Isn’t writing the voice of an author? Ask your students in grades 3 – 5 if they agree with this view.

Help your class see that the answer can certainly be yes, especially when reading poetry and fiction.

Poetry and fiction are personal, just like each of our voices.

Non-fiction still carries an author’s voice, I think, but in what one might call more of a “reporting capacity.”

Discuss the different “sounds” of different styles in writing with your class.

"The puppy squealed with joy when it saw Julia at the front door!" Can you hear the puppy's voice, class?

“The puppy squealed with joy when it saw Julia at the front door!” Can you hear the puppy’s voice, class?

Use Read Aloud Time To Teach Listening Skills – Most children enjoy hearing stories read aloud.

Help students develop good listening skills by employing different voices when you bring a story to life at storytelling time.

Use a variety of voices, including different sounds for different characters, including animals.

Ask kids to use their ears as well as their eyes as your show a book’s illustrations.

Challenge the class to consider what voice they think a character might have as the story progresses.

Reading as listening is fun!

The element of voice, imagined or heard at read aloud time, adds dimension to the focus of all kinds of writing.

Reading as Listening Helps Reading Comprehension – When a story has drama, as most do, reading as listening allows us to hear each character’s expressive tone.

This in turn helps us better understand a story.

Speaking of understanding, it may take a little time for students to fully grasp how to participate in reading as listening.

Play with the concept, and please send comments about how this approach works with your class.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!

Talk with you again soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

 

 

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students are having trouble writing connecting sentences between the beginning, middle and end of a story.

Solution: Show toy airplanes, pretending to make them "take off" across notebook paper. Explain to the class that stories, like airplanes, require clear "flight paths."

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