It’s Monday, and I made a commitment to a chapter book Read Aloud. I don’t take this decision lightly. Our class Read Aloud shoulders a huge responsibility.
Read Aloud is the centerpiece of the Reading Workshop. It guides and informs reading and writing instruction: from vocabulary, structure, and craft to understanding character, cultural and historical perspectives.
Read Aloud is our shared group experience. We are tied together by this text. It’s one of the biggest decisions I make for my students. It nurtures our reading community. For this reason, the majority of our Read Aloud time is spent in literature. I believe that is how we learn about humanity and how to be humane.
Informational text happens beside our Read Aloud, with online articles, picture books, infographics, maps, pictures, and primary documents that supplement the literature.
Some of my students struggle to love reading. They read because it’s good for them (like spinach), because their parents require it, because they want to do well in school. Not because they love it. I get that. But if all goes well, Read Aloud is the best part of the day.and these students know that book love is possible.
Because of this, Read Aloud must be a book that students will carry with them forever. When they come back to visit me as middle schoolers, the first question they ask is what are you reading.
These reads have met the standard for my students over the years-
- Because of Winn-Dixie
- Flying Solo
- Mick Harte Was Here
- How to Steal a Dog
- Tiger Rising
- Out of My Mind
- The One and Only Ivan
All of these reads have included kids that in some way connected to my students.They could see themselves in one way or another in these books.
Today we will start a book that may stretch their thinking a bit, A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park. Will they see themselves in Salva and Nya? Can they connect to this world of war and struggle for the basics of life? Will this be just a window into this foreign country and culture? Or will we find threads that connect us to these characters.
The Sudanese children in this story are a far cry from Los Angeles urban kids. Or are they? We start our journey today.
Thank you, Anna, Beth, Betsy, Dana, Stacey and Tara of Two Writing Teachers blog for hosting the Slice of Life March Story Challenge. Read other bloggers slices here.