Again, a bit of conviction as I read this chapter! I think it's safe to say that I probably fall into the "genre-disliker". (I know, he used hate, but that seemed a bit strong for me! =) I am definitely a comedy-fiction kind of girl. Some of my favorite picture books for read aloud are by Robert Munsch. Although they some times border on the edge, (like the book," I Have To Go" where the kid constantly uses the word 'pee'), the kids love it and I love being able to read and act out these crazy characters and voices. SkippyJon Jones' books are favorites for me as well.
As for chapter books, I am a Junie B. Jones girl. The books are hilarious, but it gives us good opportunities to talk about how she should be doing something and not the way she is!! Last year we read The Fantastic Secret of Jester Owen for our One Book, One School. My kids loved it and would beg for me to read just one more chapter!
My biggest challenge will be to start bringing in non-fiction and other genres into my read aloud time. Guess I had better get busy and start researching now!
Me too!! (Start looking for non-fiction and other genres.) Let me know if you find any good ones and I'll do the same for you. ;)
I, also, am guilty of "genre-hating". Only graphic novels though. I just can't deal with the only text being in the form of dialogue. Although I will admit that during summer school this year I was tutoring students one on one and had chosen some books that I thought they might enjoy on their reading level from our school library.
The Benny and Penny series ( low level graphic novel) was a complete hit with my boys...I'll even admit I somewhat enjoyed them as well!
Well, I'll make a confession here...I cheated upon first getting the book and seeing chapter 5 in the table of contents, "The Books We Love to Read Aloud." I immediately turned there and read that chapter first. :D Awesome chapter!
I paid particular attention to the twelve books that Steven loves to read aloud. Needless to say, I was on Amazon that very day ordering five books for possible read-alouds next year, and, thanks to Prime, they've already arrived and I'm working my way through them!
Oops! I forgot to mention the titles I bought. Ben Mikaelsen's Touching Spirit Bear and its sequel Ghost of Spirit Bear. I have used Touching Spirit Bear for reading aloud in the past, but have not read the sequel. I also bought Joan Bauer's Stand Tall, Jerry Spinelli's Stargirl, Gary Paulson's Harris and Me, and, of course, Steven's own book written for middle school students who hate to read, This Side of Paradise. I tried to pick books that would appeal to the struggling reluctant readers that I have with me in Developmental Reading. I think they'll be hits. (And I think that's 6 books, not 5!)
Marge- I'm actually reading the Kelly Gallagher book instead of this one for the summer book reading, but I'm taking over a double blocked English class next year which will include reluctant readers... Is there any way you could share the whole list of 12 books that he shares that would make good read alouds???? I'd like to incorporate more read alouds into this class to get these kids reading. Thanks in advance if you don't mind sharing!
Sure, Stacie! Not everything he (or the others) names are upper level titles. All the recommendations include elementary, middle, and high. You know, I'm sure if you ask Kim Tate for a copy of the book, she'd give you one - she had extras still!
Just one more thing I need to add here - actually it's another confession. I'm sure you can tell by the titles I've already got in mind for reading aloud that I don't do much reading aloud of nonfiction. We work with nonfiction articles and such in all kinds of instructional manner, of course, but I don't choose it for reading aloud. I would hazard a guess that's because (recalling titles) that's what was read to me in school and that's what I loved - and still do.
So...like Chris, that will be my challenge for the upcoming year.
I've only even classroom-taught Kindergarten and first grade but I read aloud so much non-fiction during my science and social studies unit time. I would say at least 3 books a week on whatever topic we were learning about. I had a harder time getting in my leisure reading aloud, which I admit did consist mostly of fiction.
While reading chapters 1 and 2 of Dr. Layne's book, I kept asking the question "What about picture books?" Couldn't picture books be used as a read aloud? I'm glad Dr. Layne addressed this on pages 55-56. "All things in moderation."
Another question...Is a DLTA and an instructional read-aloudall in one the same? I'm guessing yes? Any thoughts are welcomed.
After reading chapter 3 I've become very aware that I need to step out into genres. Being honest, I have to admit that I don't think "genres" in first grade. I just read a good book or good poem when I find one that applies to our focus, topic, interest, etc. (I know; I need a plan.)
Kim, your questions asking us what titles we have in mind has spurred me on into looking for some titles that I'm somewhat familiar with. So Far I've picked up "Gooseberry Park" by Cynthia Rylant and "Winter According to Humphrey" by Betty G. Birnew. One book I have enjoyed reading in February is titled Buttons for George Washington by Peter and Connie Roop. It's realistic fiction and the boys love it! It's not loaded with chapters, but it's a good read. Like Marge, I think I need to look ahead to chapter 5 to learn about other good read-daloud titles. I'll continue working on this task.
As I've been reading, I've been making 3 lists on the back inside cover of this book......Chapter books that I need to read to preview, that could possibly fit into my read aloud program this coming school year, Professional books I should read and Books that will be above my 2nd graders listening level, but that I want to read because of the way others talked about being touched by them. I am so glad that Cathy andMarge have added books that they plan to use or have used....There are a lot of chapter books that I love: Fantastic Mr. Fox, The BFG, and Junie B. Jones. I'll be rereading those with a new eye. I have never read the BFG to a class, but it was one I read with my son waaay back in the olden days. There are picture books that I will continue to use: The Rag Coat (makes me cry every time!), all of Kevin Henkes' books, and Robert Munsch's books, a variety of 3 Little Pig versions and Cinderella stories. This is definitely going to be a big summer of reading to plan and prepare for next year.
First, I appreciated Dr. Layne's words on the importance of "listening up." I encourage students to take home books they need to ask someone to read to them whether in Kindergarten or fifth grade.
Genre hater-not me! Well, maybe me...graphic fiction. I struggle getting through these books when previewing them for my library. I think it's the format that is hard for me to read. I appreciate there value for the readers who enjoy them but avoid using them as a read aloud. So maybe a challenge for me to get over this year. :-)
Titles for read alouds: This coming year our one school one book will focus on nonfiction author Steve Jenkins (so it will actually be multiple books). Usually with a nonfiction books, I want the real pictures. However, with Jenkins collaged illustrations and theme specific writing style I (along with the students) am captivated by his books. I've ordered many more of his titles to share with teachers this fall and can't wait to share them with the students, too.
I give Steve Jenkins a second. I love his nonfiction for Elementary grades.
Let me just begin by saying that I LOVE Steve Jenkins. He also wrote an informational book about writing his books and why. A little biographical and a great resource.
This chapter reminded me to think outside of the box, to evaluate the read alouds I currently have read, and to think about different genres, as well as the time spent on read alouds. Currently, I teach third grade and love using picture books to build reading strategies. I also love chapter books which capture children's attention, promote discussion, and build community. A Nest for Celeste by Henry Cole has been a favorite of mine and the children for the last couple of years. It is about friendships, ups and downs, and has some historical fiction elements in it along with a animals that talk throughout this adventure. Children really relate to the mouse's survival against others, weather, and circumstances.
I've really been thinking about my time spent on read alouds and the quality of discussion. When reading Humphrey as our school-wide reading selection, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to read aloud picture books in my language arts block and complete Humphrey in our allotted time frame. So...I used my chapter book as my read aloud, focused on strategies, and made a four-square graphic organizer to support my instruction and discussion. I am thinking I will alternate between chapter books and picture books in order to give them the proper time for discussion.
I am thinking about reading Who Was Dr. Seuss? since a new book just came out by him. I also would like to read an I Survived book and other nonfiction books. Definitely want to broaden my types of read alouds and plan them out throughout the quarters.
There were plenty of challenges for me in this chapter. I can't utilize all his suggestions in my role as a reading specialist, but many apply. I definitely have preferred genres that I read aloud, and I recognize the need to branch out. Specifically, non-fiction is not something I typically choose to read aloud, unless we're working on author's message or research skills. I can work on that. I don't think it would be appropriate for me to read chapter books aloud in the 30 minute segments of time that I have each day with most groups, but I can work on the "listening up" concept. And another challenge for me will be to consider each group and decide on books based on what will engage them, rather than what I've used in the past or what excites me! It will definitely take more planning time, but I understand the value.
I identified with the comment made by Bernadette Dwyer in her position statement that Dr. Layne included in this chapter. She referred to her experience of being worried when she saw her principal had slipped into the room and was seeing her read aloud. Since I'm not a classroom teacher, I often feel like I should explain how reading aloud fits in my lesson plan when an administrator enters the room, lest it be misunderstood.
As for read-alouds that I may use, I'll simply mention a few authors whose books I've used to teach comprehension strategies: Jim Arnosky - visualization, Patricia Polacco-- author's message, Mo Willems-- cause and effect, Kevin Henkes- sequencing, Lester Laminack-- story elements.... to name a few.
A confession – I am a genre-hater, although after some reflection I realized that I branch out more with my classroom read-aloud choices that I do with my own personal reading. For example, I don’t read any fantasy myself with the exception of Harry Potter, but I regularly read from Road Dahl (The BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) in my classroom. My personal reading of choice is almost entirely mystery/suspense//thriller, but I can’t recall a single mystery I’ve ever read aloud except for a Cam Jansen many years ago. And I also devote some time to reading poetry each year, another genre I rarely (never) read outside of the classroom. My read aloud choices do tend to be heavily realistic fiction with predominantly male characters. The challenge to vary books according to groups and incorporate new read-alouds is one I need. My read-aloud choices generally encourage students to listen-up.
Layne’s suggestion about finishing a few days before long vacation breaks is a good one. Using those last few days before a break to read picture books or poetry is an idea I like. It would be pretty easy to gather a selection of picture books and poetry to use in between chapter books.
Non-fiction is not something I regularly choose for our regular read aloud time (after lunch, on the carpet), but is regularly incorporated into our science and social studies time. I could more deliberate about analyzing text structure and features during those times however.
My challenge for next year is to try some new read alouds with the idea of branching out across genres.
It will be a stretch for me to start planning what read aloud books I might use this coming year and map it out, especially including chapter books. For me, just staying abreast at all the book choices and keeping a log of titles for specific reading strategies will be most helpful for finding read aloud options for me and classroom teachers who ask for suggestions.
I tend to read aloud picture books (haven't read a graphic novel yet) and am limited some by not reading aloud daily with the same group of students. I do; however, want to read some chapter books this summer and consider how they could be used during read alouds.
This morning as I was teaching my beginner's class at Mar Qardahk IB School in Iraqi Kurdistan, I was able to use an idea from my reading of Layne's book last night. I have been reading aloud to my students every day and today I was able to introduce them to the "language of books", page 74 Dwyer. A lively discussion followed as they concurred that in Arabic, books and spoken language differ as well.
I chuckled as I read about the author reading the poem "Naked" taken from "Chicks Up Front" by Sarah Holbrook. I can imagine this poem creating quite a stir among teenagers.
In my classroom here, I see the importance of reading aloud as students are able to hear and enjoy the fluidity of the English language. Although there are limited resources at the school, I am doing my best to expose my students to a wide variety of genres.
Working as a reading specialist in fourth and fifth grades, my input into titles for shared novels and read-alouds is in collaboration with classroom teachers. That is both enriching and a little complicated, due to those personal factors of teachers' own preferences, etc.! In fifth grade last year we enjoyed as a shared novel Love That Dog (novel in verse by Sharon Creech) along with our poetry unit. Then the classroom teacher followed up with Hate That Cat as a read-aloud, and the kids loved it!
I also admit to feeling trepidation about reading aloud non-fiction! Picture books are about as far as I've gone with that, and even then I often feel like I am losing them. Maybe I haven't done enough planning to come across as that "master of the text" Layne talks about. But one thought struck me as I looked at his list of twenty non-fiction suggestions: Another shared novel my fifth-graders enjoyed was the latest I Survived...The Great Chicago Fire (Lauren Tarshis), and Layne recommends a non-fiction book by Jim Murphy called The Great Fire. Once students have some background knowledge and interest built up from the novel, perhaps they would enjoy reinforcing/adding on factual knowledge through a follow-up non-fiction read-aloud like this one.
Jill, Amanda Knight and I have read Hatchet to our 4th grade group the last two years. This has been an awesome book for us. The kids love the setting and the survival story. We have used it as a springboard for discussion on perseverance when things get tough. We've linked it to the challenges that our kids face while test taking.
Embedded in the position statement of Bernadette Dwyer at the end of Chapter 3 is this nugget, " Read-alouds also promote listening comprehension and vocabulary development as children develop their sensory imaginations and their creative and critical thinking capabilities. " This brings to mind the value of vocabulary instruction in the context of the read-aloud. For those of us who want to improve our vocabulary instruction skills, I would heartily recommend reading Isabel Beck's book, "Bringing Words to Life" as it breaks down just how to choose the best words to teach and then how to teach them so they can become a part of our students' lexicon.
Two books I would introduce as read-alouds to a Grade 4, 5, or 6 class are "Wonder" by R. J. Palacio and "Counting by 7s" by Holly Sloan. They are both wonderfully engaging for boys and girls, develop appreciation of diversity on many levels, give voice to current issues, and demonstrate triumph over quite insurmountable hardships. Both are realistic fiction. I'm interested to know if any of you have already used them as readalouds. I can only imagine the richness of your shared conversations.
Anita, thank you for the professional read aloud suggestion of "Bringing Words to Life." I just ordered it from Amazon, and am eagerly awaiting its arrival next week. That gives me enough time to peruse it before school starts.
I have read "Wonder" and "Counting by 7s," but have not yet used them as read alouds. I'd be curious to hear of anyone's experiences in doing so.
I, also, have not incorporated nonfiction read-alouds in my classroom as often as I should. I usually open a new science or social studies unit with a nonfiction selection and try to work in several more during the unit, but I was convicted by what Layne said in this chapter, that "what students might not be getting in those other subject areas is assistance in learning to navigate that nonfiction text, training in identifying textual features, and opportunities to preview, predict, and read for confirmation or modification of their thinking." If students are exposed to and taught to navigate nonfiction early, they will be much more well-rounded readers and thinkers.
I teach first grade, and every year I read Peter Pan aloud, and students love it! That book has a lot of descriptive language that teaches awesome vocabulary and also gives students the chance to visualize characters and scenes. Students often compare the book to the Disney movie and there are a lot of differences to discuss. A couple years ago, our whole school read aloud The World According to Humphrey (Birney) and my students really enjoyed it, so I'll be bringing it back this year! I will really need to work on a plan for this coming year, so that I can do a better job of offering read alouds from every genre. I tend to read a lot of fantasy fiction.
I am always pleasantly surprised with the reaction of a group of elementary students when I read a good nonfiction book aloud. I just got back from the beach and my grandchildren (ages 3 and 5) asked me to read a nonfiction beach book every evening. The two books that they repeatedly asked for were Hello Ocean by Pam Ryan and One Tiny Turtle by Nicola Davies. Some other nonfiction titles I love to read aloud are
Now & Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Baretta
Balto, The Bravest Dog Ever by Natilie Standiford OR any other animal rescue book
Any biographies written for children ( been finding some good ones at Green Valley BF
I survived series by Tarshis
OH, Where do I stop and start???
website good to find NF suggestions: http://commoncore.scholastic.com/teachers/books/non-fiction
Thanks for all your good suggestions. I appreciate so much the community of learners!!
I used to be a Junie B. Jones fan....until I met Ready Freddy. There's something about Junie B. that made me feel shameful to read her to my class of impressionable students. Freddy is a first grader who encounters some of the same issues but is what I would consider to be a more realistic student. Also I have to admit I like him because he doesn't back talk and name call. Although the bully, Max does this, he is just that...a bully...not the main character in the book.
My own children at home really like all of these real life animal stories. Here are some we've read countless times:
Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby (a little pig who was raised by dogs)
A Kid for Jack by Fourth Grade Students at Piney Grove Elem School
The Little One (can't find author right now but it's about a little girl who raises a ring tailed lemur on an animal preservation with her family)
Little Dog Lost: The True Story of a Brave Dog Named Baltic
In fourth grade, I’ve started the beginning of each year reading “Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing.” I want to continue this read aloud because this year, I will have mostly boys! The past two years I have shared one of my favorites (and one that Layne mentioned), “Pippi Longstocking.” Last year, I had mostly girls so we loved reading about Pippi’s adventures together! This year, I’m not sure if it will be appropriate with all my new boys!
I really like the idea of reading two grade levels up to help build comprehension. I think it’s important for students to stop and answer questions during a read aloud. To us, we’re working on comprehension outside of LA class, to our kids, we’re just talking about the book!
Three of the books I have in my Amazon cart that I would love to share this year include “Blood on the River” by Elisa Carbone. This is perfect to tie into our Jamestown curriculum. “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli seems like a perfect to help teach kids to embrace their individuality and to respect others. I am hoping this is appropriate for 4th grade! Last, I am really drawn to Lois Lowry’s “Gooney Bird Greene.” First, I love Lowry’s books (Gathering Blue is one of my all time favorites!) but I love that her work is also geared to younger readers. She reminds me of a Pippi-Junie B hybrid and one that I hope my kids will enjoy getting to know!
Reading aloud is something I've always done with my students, and a few of my favorite read alouds are The BFG, Knuffle Bunny, Too Many Frogs, and My Little Sister Ate One Hare, and any of the Elephant and Piggy books...see a trend? I love silly stories, and getting my students to appreciate humor. While, I'm not necessarily a genre hater, I certainly lean toward a certain type of book. Layne has made me more aware of this, and I plan to branch out on my read aloud selections in the upcoming year.
At the start of each school year, I have my students complete an interest survey for me. I use this to help me steer them toward books that they might be interested in for self-selected reading. This year, I plan to use these surveys to help map out my read alouds as well.
As an elementary school reading specialist, I work with students in 1st-5th grade, and am limited in the amount of service time I have with them daily. Layne made me truly consider the importance of "listening up." So taking student interest and listening up into account, I won't have my entire read aloud plan in place until after I meet the students in my caseload. Some books I hope to use as read alouds include the following:
1st grade: Actual Size - Steve Jenkins
2nd grade: Lulu and the Brontosaurus - Judith Viorst
3rd grade: Scaredy Squirrel - Melanie Watt
4th grade: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - Kate DiCamillo
5th grade: Henry's Freedom Box - Ellen Levine
I'm also hoping to create a read aloud word wall. I have seen the idea on Pinterest, but have yet to implement it. Basically, you copy the cover of the book, and list the vocabulary words taught from that book to create a word wall of sorts. You could refer to these words throughout the year, but could also cross-reference as these words show up in other read alouds or in daily instruction.
Kimber Tate, Coordinator of English, Reading and Libraries