Monday, March 5, 2012

The Power of Read Aloud Part 1

One of my strongest passions as a teacher is read aloud.  To me, read aloud is the heart of literacy in the classroom and empowers students as critical thinkers about books. It not only teaches students important reading skills to be life-long readers, but also strengthens partner and whole class conversations as well as writing about reading. 
I am going to be posting a series of posts about read aloud for the next couple days so stay tuned for more!  Some of the topics I will post about are:  Read Aloud Charts, Whole Class Conversations, Reader's Notebooks, and much more. 

Part 1:
Read Aloud Timeline 
We have a read aloud bulletin board in our classroom where we create a timeline of our read aloud covers to help us make connections across texts throughout the school year.  The visual of seeing the covers helps students spark memories of their thinking so they can make meaningful connections and notice patterns across the texts during our units of study in reading workshop. 


Personalizing Readers Notebooks and Creating Sections
During read aloud, students are engaged through turning and talking to their reading partners, stopping and jotting in their readers notebooks, and adding their thinking to our class charts.  I am a firm believer that students put in more effort and are invested when they feel a sense of ownership as learners in the classroom.  To create a sense of ownership in my students, I have them personally decorate their reader’s notebooks with titles, authors, book covers, thinking stems, quotes, etc.  By personalizing their reader’s notebooks like they decorate their writer’s notebooks, I find that they are more apt to take pride in the charts and responses they develop about their texts and read alouds.  In addition to personalizing the outside of the notebook, they also create sections within the notebook.  All students have three sections with tabs labeled: Read Aloud, Independent Reading, and Reflections.  In addition to these three sections, students can decide if they want to create other sections such as a section to collect quotes, titles of books to read next, or a strategy section.  These sections not only help with organization, but also teach students how to reflect on themselves as readers and create a purpose for writing about their reading.


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