A few years ago when I was working on my Master's degree, we talked about daily read alouds and I was surprised that not everyone just automatically reads aloud every day to their students.
I can get on quite a soapbox about this topic, so I'll try and remain calm (!) but I just wanted to share some of my favorite read alouds, get some from you, and relish in the joy of reading aloud to kids.
I read several times a day. During my Daily Five mini-lessons, I usually read at least one book every day for instructional purposes. I have some favorite book lists for comprehension strategies that you can find here.
I also read during snack. My students eat and I read from a chapter book. Sometimes we do things like draw our visualizations, keep track of good words or characters, or track character development. Other times, we just read to enjoy a good book. Some of my favorite chapter book read alouds are Charlotte's Web, Mr. Popper's Penguins, My Father's Dragon, The Chocolate Touch, Pippi Longstocking, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, Stone Fox, and anything and everything Roald Dahl.
A few summers ago, two reading gurus from New Zealand visited my area and I attended a week long conference with them. Aside from being incredibly fun and entertaining, I learned a ton! They suggested doing 3 read alouds daily... 1 for instruction and 2 just for the heck of it. I have tried to embrace that philosophy since then. My kids LOVE when I read aloud to them and it is one of my favorite times of the day too.
I heard someone say once, "If my students can read to themselves, I don't need to read aloud to them". FALSE! My 8th grade language arts teacher (Mrs. Pinney... who I *love* and who inspired me to be a teacher!) read to us every day and I still remember it. I LOVED it!
Reading aloud helps your students develop important listening comprehension skills, hear fluent reading, and practice important skills like visualizing and predicting. Not to mention all of the instruction you can do on a whim- vocabulary, helping understand jokes, and showing emotion during a book. I love Stone Fox and read it every year even though it's a toughie and I have to help my students think through the story. But, I always cry and have a few students who do too. A few years ago, one of my little boys said in an awe-filled whisper with tears running down his cheeks at the end of the Stone Fox, "Wow. Who knew a book could make you feel something like that?". That was a teacher heaven moment that I will never forget!
So, in the spirit of all things read aloud, and Thanksgiving, and the giddiness I am still feeling after a HUGE Donor's Choose project of mine for tons and tons and TONS of stuff for my math workstations got funded last night, I am giving away my unit for The Chocolate Touch OR My Father's Dragon. Both of these are available for pay on The Teaching Oasis however, if you follow my ridiculous list of demands below, I will shower you with the free unit of your choice!
1.) Leave a comment suggesting a favorite read aloud and why you love it... either a picture book for instruction or enjoyment, or a chapter book. I'm in need of new chapter books because I looped with half of my class!
2.) In the comment, leave your e-mail address and which unit you'd like.
I'm going to be a jerk though and insist that demand #1 is followed! So, please recommend something for me and why. I looooove buying books and adding them to my library. I'm counting on you to help!
That's it! This is for one day only... so I'll start shipping out units on Tuesday (or maybe even tonight if I'm feeling ambitious!)! Marygrove College has a great blog on the importance of reading aloud for older students... if you can, go check it out!