21st Century Read-alouds

Earlier this year, I was presented with a dilemma.  I wanted to read  Diamond Willow  to my students before the Newbery announcement.  But because the story is told in diamond-shaped poems with bold words throughout, I knew my students would need to see the text in order to fully appreciate it.  I couldn’t afford to buy a class set this late in the year- how could I share this great read-aloud while not going broke?

Then it hit me.  This is the 21st century!  I realized I could share the novel by utilizing my classroom document camera! On January 15th, I posted this idea on my blog.

…the students can see the poems as I read them, just like if they had the book in their hands.  It’s the first time I will be combining technology and literacy this way, and I can’t wait to see how it goes!  Will the experience of reading the book on the board, via the camera, be the same as reading the book in your lap?  It should be a lot of fun and I can’t wait to find out!

I was a bit hesitant at first, as my normal read-aloud routine involves all eyes on me, the one with the novel.  I was afraid some of my students would be distracted by the document camera, the projector, or just the opportunity to stare at the book’s projection.  But as we began, all of my fears dissipated.  My students were enthralled!   They loved reading along with me and were mesmerized by the diamond-shaped poems with the embedded bold words.  Thanks to technology, I was able to share a read-aloud with my students that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to experience together. 
Both classes loved the novel.  I shared some of their reactions back in January:

“More books should do the bold words thing.  It’s so cool!  They tell you what the character is thinking deep down.”

“It must have been really hard to write a whole book using the right diamond shapes and making sure you had all the words for the bold parts.”

“This was my favorite book that we read all year.”

“This was an awesome book!  


Thanks to my document camera and a projector, I was able to share an amazing read-aloud with my students!

8 Responses

  1. This is such a great linking of technology with art! In my ideal world, such possibilities would be explored more and more.

  2. […] With Kids: A Dad’s Perspective – hosted by Steven and Brian at Book Dads: Fathers that Read Using Technology for Read Alouds – Sarah Mulhern at The Reading Zone Reading Aloud with Independent Readers – Donalyn Miller at The […]

  3. Technology is just a tool, if it helps to get kids reading that’s great.

  4. The thing that’s really striking about this post, Sarah, is the way that you use whatever resources you can find to promote the real goal – connecting kids with books. I’m glad that the Diamond Willow experiment was such a success!

  5. Thank you for pointing out the 21st century tools we can all use. Read aloud books on http://www.rif.org have proven very popular with parents who are reluctant “read aloud” participants; and there are author/illustrator interviews on RIF’s LEADING TO READING site that children really enjoy….seeing Eric Carle talk about his books in short clips after the book has been shared with children is intriguing to the children and brings the concept of an author to life!

  6. […] 21st Century Read-Alouds: Using Technology for Read Alouds – Sarah Mulhern @ The Reading Zone […]

  7. […] it on the document camera, which worked great. You can read more about this 21st-century read-aloud here.    For many of my students, this was their first verse novel and many of them turned to verse […]

  8. […] 21st Century Read-Alouds: Using Technology for Read Alouds – Sarah Mulhern @ The Reading Zone […]

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