Because of Mary Lee, a fellow classroom teacher as well as the author of a book about reading aloud, I’ve come around and decided to play, inspired by her superb post today on reading aloud in the classroom. You see, my first response to Rick Walton’s call for stories for his blog, “Why Read Aloud?” was more a feeling of ennui to be completely honest, that here was yet another well-intentioned person outside the classroom telling teachers what to do. Wrote Rick:
And then we will figure out a way to get your stories to the administrators and teachers who need to hear them. Your story of how being read to made your life better might motivate a teacher to read to her kids and make their lives better.
I know, I know. Best of intentions here, but the reasons as to why teachers do or don’t read aloud may well be more complicated than simple motivation. Things like standards, test prep, parental pressure, and more may be significant factors too. And so, inspired by Mary Lee, here are a handful of my posts about reading aloud to my class.
First two on some general thoughts about reading aloud to a whole class of children:
And then a bunch (but not all) of my posts on specific books:
- Reading Aloud Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me
- Reading Aloud Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book
- Reading Aloud Howie
- Reading Aloud The Latke that Wouldn’t Stop Screaming
- Reading Aloud Alice in Wonderland
- Reading Aloud The Tale of Despereaux
- Reading Aloud Coraline
- Reading Aloud The Invention of Hugo Cabret
8 responses to “In The Classroom: Reading Aloud”
I agree totally that reading aloud in the classroom is a complicated issue. When I taught I bucked my principal’s expectations and read to my class 30-60 minutes a day. Best thing I did. The blog for me is not so much to motivate teachers but to try to help get those who decide the curriculum to see the value in making reading aloud a priority. When I taught, one administrator told me that if I can’t test it, the students haven’t learned anything. I reject that idea. I think some of the most important things you can learn in school don’t fit on a standardized test. Love of reading is one of those things, and that love often comes from being read to.
One other reason for the blog is to be a thank you to teachers who read to their kids. For me, every thank you on the blog to a teacher who read aloud is a thank you to all teachers who read aloud.
Rick, thanks for the clarification.
I appreciate the idea of the blog being a thank you — I’d like to think some of my students might be among those writing of their pleasure at being read to. (I was partly inspired by my father reading to me and my 6th grade teacher.)
I thank my lucky stars daily that I’m in a situation where I can read aloud every day! Kills me to think of colleagues who can’t, but I’ve heard way too many stories about that.
I LOVE having all (lots of) your read aloud posts gathered together here in a “digest.” Thanks for playing along today!
I wasn’t read to in school until grade four (seems very late looking back on it now!) and the only reason was the order of books (Banks’ “The Indian in the Cupboard”) had been delayed and only the teacher had a copy. He went ahead and read it to us anyway as we would have fallen behind in our lesson plan if we waited for the books to arrive. Twenty years later, I still remember the book, and being read to, very fondly.
I love to read aloud to others. I love to see groups listening to others reading. I firmly believe in its power.
Nevertheless, ever since I learned to read for myself, listening to anyone read out loud drives me nuts (and yes, my mother read to me faithfully). There was one magical evening, listening to a British actor read “A Christmas Carol,” but otherwise, ugh. If I’ve read the book, I don’t like the interpretation of the reader. If I haven’t read the book, I want to jump ahead and read it myself because I want to know what happens next NOW. Audiobooks drive me crazy…
Anyway – have you worked with children who have this same control issue? How do you teach them the patience to listen?
Reading aloud is my absolute favorite part of teaching every day (I think the majority of my kids would say the same). Hugo Cabret is a perennial favorite, but your blog inspired me to share Alice aloud this year. We will finish tomorrow and the kids can’t wait for Through the Looking Glass. Edward Tulane, Maniac Magee, and The Westing Game are others I can’t get through the year without. I’m going to use When You Reach Me this before June as well. Love what you write about finding those “magical stories that will help connect us all,” I couldn’t agree more.
I have read aloud 24 years, first to 5th graders and now to 6th graders. However with only 45 minutes, I find it hard to read aloud everyday. One title I used to read was :Thief of Always to my 5th graders and I have grown students who still ask about that book. Others are “Summer of the Monkeys” “Weasel” Wednesday Wars, The Mighty, Tiger Rising and Tale of Despereaux.
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