Update on my read-aloud

Today I began our newest read-aloud. Thank you to everyone for your suggestions!

I decided I wanted to go with a new genre, something my kids wouldn’t pick up on their own yet would hold their interest, and something that was light and quick. Our newest class read-aloud is Marley: A Dog Like No Other by John Grogan. The kids love it so far! It’s a new genre for me to read aloud- non-fiction (that is not a picture book). It is also easy for my students to relate to. Already they are sharing stories about their own dogs, cats, and various pets. The connections were made immediately and I can only imagine them growing as we continue.

I am hoping that we can finish in about 10 days. We read 25 pages today and baring interruptions should hit 50 tomorrow. With less than 200 pages we may finish before spring break. That would be perfect, allowing us a fresh start when we begin the Holocaust after that.

Anytime we finish a novel, either as a class novel or a read-aloud, I print the cover and staple it to our “We Have Read….” bulletin board. Today I finally had time to update it. When our librarian saw it she was thrilled. For some reason, it is hard to convince other teachers to read-aloud. I can’t imagine my class without a read-aloud. It allows me to model reading behaviors and strategies while modeling a constant love of reading. It is contagious- my kids are reading more than they ever have before. Why other teachers don’t read-aloud baffles me!

I have heard all the excuses….no time, test prep, “the kids don’t listen anyway”, and more. Yet I make time with both my classes, even though I only have two hours with them. As for the students not listening, modeling should take care of it. If you constantly show that reading is important and fun it will begin to stick! My class is proof of this. And you must find exciting books that they will want to read. Realistic fiction is a big hit in my classes, but once they were introduced to it we were able to move to other genres. I know a lot of my kids wouldn’t pick up Tuck Everlasting on their own.  Now that we read it together many of them list it as the best book they have read!  It’s all in the teacher’s choices and modeling practices.
I am interested in hearing your experiences (especially at the intermediate/upper grades, when reading aloud falls by the wayside)!  Do you read-aloud in your room? Do you have a specific read-aloud time?  What are some of your most popular titles?

4 Responses

  1. I’m a public librarian and we are just finishing a cycle of “Literacy Lunches” where we’ve been going around to the interested elementary schools in our district and reading aloud during lunchtime. At each school interested kids (generally 4th and 5th graders) could sign up to come to the library during lunch and the kids voted on the book to be read. Some of the schools did the boys and the girls separately. I was a little skeptical about how much interest we would have when we started it, but we actually got a great response. It’s been fun for the kids and for us, too!

  2. Oh boy, Marley! I cried so hard I thought I would die!
    I read aloud two specific books every year to my class that always spawn a real love for reading. They are both quite long, but we have to at least make it through those two, no matter what. They are The Watson’s go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis and Harris and Me by Gary Paulsen. LOVE THEM! and the kids do too. The neat thing is, both writers have other books I can then recommend that they would not normally pick up. Although, let’s face it, Fifth graders rarely pick up much at all on their own.

  3. I’ve jumped around a lot between teaching fourth, fifth, and sixth grade. One of the reasons I listen to audio books is to learn how to read aloud w/ energy, w/ different voices, and w/ lots of passion. I’ve never had a class that wasn’t carried away by several novels I read out loud during the year. Some favorites: Becoming Naomi Leon, The Lightning Thief, Ribsy, The Bad Beginning, The Tale of Desperaux, Bud, Not Buddy, and Where the Red Fern Grows. I usually only manage to get in about 25 minutes, which seems to take lots of my students to the edge of their attention spans.

  4. I have taught 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in my classroom career. With each of those grade levels, read aloud has been an integral part of my literacy block. My philosophy has always been that I want my students to develop a reading life during their time with me. One of the parts of their reading life is read aloud. It’s also a community builder — my 5th graders gather on the floor in front of me, and most listen intently to what I read. The conversations that we have about the books have been phenomenal!
    Some of the books I’ve read this year have been: How to Steal a Dog, The Van Gogh Cafe, No Talking, Leepike Ridge, and I am currently reading Counting on Grace. Last year, two of my favorite read alouds were Penny From Heaven and Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life.

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