Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Just Read Aloud

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
It seems we have gotten very good at taking a picture book, snippet of text, or poem and using it to help teach a mini-lesson.  We've learned to use the stories authors write to help readers learn how to think, how to dig into a message, how to consider new perspectives.  Picture books often support our teaching of big ideas in reading providing a shared conversation for our communities.  We've also learned to use the work of authors to teach the young writers ways to craft a piece of writing.  By taking a closer look at the moves authors make, we can help our writers to see new possibilities.

There certainly is authenticity to bringing in books and texts learners would want to read.  It makes the work real - and enjoyable.  However, I was reminded yesterday, as we walked into a fifth grade classroom to find students spread around the room listening to their teacher read, of the power of just reading aloud.  Students were all around the room as the teachers voice carefully shaped the words in the story.  Some were laying on the floor, some on stools, and some nestled tightly around their teacher.  The students were spellbound and didn't even to seem to notice as we entered.  It was just after lunch and the story seemed to be pulling the community back together in shared experience; the teachers words sometimes creating audible gasps as they listened to the new chapter together.

In many classrooms, it isn't be uncommon to have 3-5 read alouds in any given day.  Teachers find time to read from a variety of texts to support the learning happening in their communities.  In all of those opportunities to read aloud, we want a portion of that time to be just reading aloud.  Just peeling the layers of story.  Just letting the words whisper into the ears of all those listening.  Just letting the story sink into the hearts of the listeners gathered together.  There should always be a time to just read aloud.  Every day.

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