Read Aloud Time--Make the Most of It

 Make the Most of Your Read-Aloud Time

If you're like every other teacher I know, you're feeling a big squeeze on your instruction time. There just aren't enough minutes in your day to get everything done. I understand that some things have to go, but I cringe every time I hear a teacher say, "I just don't have time to read aloud to my kids." Instead of taking the read-alouds out of your day, why not find ways to work them into your instructional time?

Here are a few ways the read-aloud time can be used to enhance your instructions time:
-Build excitement when introducing new topics
-Begin discussions on sensitive topics
-Model thinking strategies
-Increase student vocabulary and comprehension skills
-Set examples for classroom expectations

At the beginning of every year, we spend a lot of time setting up our classroom routines and explaining our expectations.  I use the book Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo to help establish a set of classroom expectations.  I call these expectations Life Lessons or qualities to help us all get along and have a successful year.

It’s my favorite read-aloud book of all time! I have a blast putting on my southern accent as I become Opal, Miss Franny, Gloria Dump, and all the other wonderful characters. The kids love it when you get into the read-aloud and use your voice to enhance the moods and personalities in the story.

Winn Dixie Free Sample--Crockett's Classroom

While I’m reading, I stop once in a while to share my thinking and encourage the kids to share theirs. (great way to introduce metacognition) For every two chapters, I guide the discussion toward one “Life Lesson”.  In chapter 1, Opal comes home from the store with a stray dog.  She got the dog when she told the manager the stray belonged to her.  So, our discussion is about truthfulness and honesty.  It can be a great discussion because Opal’s little white lie has saved a dog’s life. But does that make it ok to be dishonest?

For every two chapters, we discuss these life lessons: honesty, curiosity, compassion, responsibility, courage, teamwork, respect, loyalty, generosity, friendship, self-discipline, perseverance, and joyfulness. By reading this book aloud at the very beginning of the school year, we not only set the tone for a caring and supportive classroom, but we also bond as a class through the shared experience of enjoying this wonderful book.

Do you have a read-aloud book you used to begin your year?


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