Read to Explore and then to Learn

Posted by Big Universe on Sep 5, 2012 3:24:05 AM

When I did a short read aloud in my classroom, we normally read the book a few times ...

The first time we read the book, it was just for the students to enjoy the process of being read to. I felt they needed to be free to experience the book, the characters, the story, and the illustrations without having to listen for something specific. I found that if I started off by telling students to listen for something specific like descriptions, rhyming words, figurative language, or character development, most students would be so focused on listening for that one thing that they would miss the whole of the book.

I wanted to make reading an enjoyable experience ... expressive read alouds are a great way to do that .... voices and all!

After the first time I shared the book, I would ask students to tell me things they enjoyed or noticed in the book. If I was looking for specific answers, I started with questions before the book to get the ready ... but if I just wanted to jump inside their thinking, I waited until after ...

So let's try it out ...

Here is a book to just read ...

What are some things you enjoyed from this book? What really stood out? Did you have a favorite part? Why? Did it give you any ideas?

The next time we read the book, which may be a day or two later, I would choose one or two specific things on which to focus.

The "teacher-in-me" had all kinds of grand ideas as I read through the book looking at it from a teacher point-of-view. Here are some of my ideas:

  • Use to talk about transportation
  • Discuss differences and similarities
  • Did you notice the locations that could be used for map skills?
  • Did you notice rhyming words or a pattern?
  • Focus on verbs as movement words
  • Explore how the illustrations contribute to the meaning of the words in the story

Those may seem like small topics, but I think there are way too many of them to try to tackle all at the same time. I would pick one focus for a whole group activity. Depending on how that went and how much time we had, I may let students work in small groups or partners to choose other things to focus on .... It could even be a center-like activity used in the future.

Since students were given time to enjoy the story for just the story, I found they were more motivated to focus on the parts since they had an understanding of the whole.

Trying to focus on too much at one time can take away both from the story and the skills that are being explored ...

I wonder how reading a book like this and focusing on certain skills could lead to writing activities ...

Topics: Classroom Ideas, Personal Experiences, Differentiation, Writing, Literacy

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