Why you should be reading aloud in your classroom!
Okay, I’m sure everyone remembers the carpet on the floor in younger grades, right? Whether you did morning and afternoon routines there or games. Almost for sure, we all got to hear a story there. We circled up on the rug, the teacher sat on the chair and (s)he read the picture book aloud (showing us each picture!) and we listened in awe at the story magic.
What happened to that?
I’ll tell you. Reading took on a purpose when we got older. Now, that’s not bad; reading should have a purpose. But, in the classroom, we make it a chore in order to do assignments. There are very few times if any, that we make reading fun and magical for the kids. We read and take notes or discuss. We never read and show pictures, we never do accents and voices for the kids, we never have storytime anymore.
Well, in my classroom, I brought that back. I had a rainbow rug in the front or back of the classroom. When we were doing a class reading (especially TKAM or Shakespeare because they loved the accents and acting), I would call for storytime. A couple of students would pull up my cool chair (yup, you should have a special chair for this) and the others would sprawl out on their carpet. And, you know what they did?
They listened to me read aloud.
Very rarely did they talk during my reading because then it stopped me and their peers got mad. I would stop and ask questions, I would even ask them to make me coffee. They loved it. It was like being a child again. And, even more importantly,
They showed proficiency on their work assigned with the reading.
Students enjoy and will think about it more.
When I read to them with better fluency, my emphasis and pacing allow them time to think about what I am reading. Which rolls into the next reason.
Students process with better reading fluency demonstrated.
Students are not taught so much how to read fluently as much as they are taught to read words on a page. So, the dry reading of many students distracts his/her peers with their internal judgment. While I could just have the kids read on their own,
Students better process when not having to focus on the words.
As in, rather than eating up their processing on reading the words on the page (which is not the same as visual learning), they can focus on comprehending the work because they’re listening (which is more common a learning strength for students).
Teachers demonstrate how to be a good reader.
Many students read from word to word and take their notes at the end. Or, they skim the text enough to answer the questions assigned. When the teacher reads aloud, (s)he can show how to chunk, interact, connect, and engage with a text.
Students can participate in the reading.
Most importantly, teachers can involve the students in the reading with simple activities like popcorn reading–though I don’t really recommend that. As secondary teachers, our primary job is not to force kids to read for fluency but for students to read for comprehension and analysis. Thus, forcing a student to “take a turn” to read is only making for horrible experiences for everyone. Kids who want to read a character’s dialogue in a voice, students who want to popcorn or pass, kids who want to act it out, let them. Those who want to just listen (or daze out, which they’ll even do when they have to read aloud), let them.
Whether fiction or nonfiction, creative or informational, I endeavored to make reading fun for my kiddos–no matter how old.
Our goals as teachers are encouraging life-long learners.
This includes readers, writers, thinkers, researchers, and everything else. Before you can get a kid to want to read, you have to get them to want to know the story. What better way to do so than by bringing back the magic of storytime?
Worked for me, at least. And, I really do think it will for you, too.
What do you say? Is it worth making the time for in the class schedule?
Let me know in the comments below and on social media, of course. While you’re at it, check out my TPT store to pick up some organization and pedagogical handouts for you and your students to better study storyology.