This was a fun chapter to read. (Do you really think those are real emails/letters he gets from people? If so, we are in trouble!!) I have to say this was the first time in the book where I have a good start. I love to read using various voices, etc. I often find the kids will repeat something similar when they have free time to look at books and are reading. I do want to be more intentional in helping students visualize who are struggling with that.
Last night at Bible School I was telling the story for the night and I had 2nd and 3rd grade kids. I said something about having to use our imagination and one of the kids said "I don't know how to do that. I've tried but it just don't work for me." That came back to me today as I was reading Chapter 4 and realizing how we really do have to teach and model for students how to visualize and use our imagination.
Wow, Chris! That's really cool that you inspired kids at VBS to use their imagination and visualization! I'm sure you are a natural! ;)
Chris, I visualize you using voices as you read and I break out in a big smile. You are a wonderful teacher!
I LOVED this chapter. I love reading a great story aloud to kids. I do. This chapter has tons and tons of validation for doing it AND I loved the part where Shelley Stagg Peterson says that "substituting formal reading instruction for read-alouds is like showing a child how to grow flowers by providing a hoe to dig holes, but neglecting to provide the seeds or take the time to watch those seeds grow." She is right! Also, the way Dr. Layne talked about the components of reading aloud was great. I confess here, I am a read aloud snob. It's true. I was turned away from using a particular sub because she was subbing for someone else and I heard her reading aloud to the group....it was incredibly disfluent. I just couldn't bear to listen or to allow her to read again to my precious listeners.
So, for the coming year, I will be much, much more focused on helping kids visualize and having them share their visualizations during read alouds. I will also include more reader's theater. He was talking to me when he mentioned those who do it as a once a year activity. I may need to gradually do the increase--once a semester at first? But, I'm open to change.
Linda, I feel your pain when you mentioned how someone's sub read aloud to the group. I have experienced this when I allow my practicum students to read to the class. I am far from perfect, but I too want to take the book back and say, "I'll take it from here." Bless their hearts...I've seen so many practicum students come into the classroom lacking that experience and knowledge of the purpose of reading to students. Guess that's why they are there with us.
I appreciate Dr. Layne's advice on making the read aloud more engaging. Thinking specifically about components like tone and pitch makes me more aware of how I am sounding. I am definitely going to use their visualization skills and have students act out parts.
I like using different voices (although my repertoire is small) to differentiate between characters and make the reading more dramatic. I want to improve this area though. Before this book became available I had ordered, Folktales Aloud: practical advice for playful storytelling by Janice Del Negro for my summer professional reading. I think it will be a great follow-up to In Defense of Read Aloud in enhancing the read aloud and story telling experience.
This chapter is a gentle reminder to me to be the most expressive oral reader I can be and to provide opportunities for students to share how they visualize. While I consider myself to be fairly good at reading aloud, I can certainly improve in emphasis, tone, and speed. I can identify with the fictional teacher Voiceless in Victoria who worries about not being able to do different voices. I’ve tried with some short books to read in different voices but I find it difficult to sustain and remember the styles for each character throughout the book.
Again, this chapter, like the previous ones, is nudging me to incorporate conversation about what we visualize when we read. I like Layne’s point that by inviting students to share what they visualize, we can gently remind those who don’t visualize when reading that most of us do and that’s visualizing helps bring the story alive.
This chapter reminded me that Read Alouds areThink Alouds. Just like teachers need to practice reading more fluently and expressively, we can use our read aloud times to think aloud and model to students so they become more intuitive of their own reading voice. Reading aloud to others has been a growth for me, I was a student who would never volunteer to read aloud and not until college did I truly feel comfortable reading aloud to a group. There are those that are gifted at reading with different voices, but I feel the most important part is reading with appropriate tone and influx.
I've always wanted to be a good reader and story teller. Throughout the reading of this chapter, I kept thinking, "Everyone loves a good story." (I still do!) The stories I can recall, whether they were heard in a classroom, a church or an auditorium, were the ones read or told with the most drama and expression. They are usually the ones I want to retell (or read) to others with the same amount of energy, enthusiasm and expression because it made such an impression on me. These readers or storytellers were not all professional educators, but they DID possess the qualities and elements of a reader should have as prescribed by Dr. Layne. This chapter encouraged me to consider these more. I can become so focused on reading with different voices that I sometimes forget to model a comprehension strategy by "thinking out loud." Like Rebecca, I also find it challenging to remember the voice I use for each character when there are so many. What seems easy to some does take some extra work and prep on my part. I want to work more on preparing them for new vocabulary. (I've started circling some of those words my students may not understand in the chapter book I am currently reading.) Because I am guilty of using Reader's Theater only twice a year, I want to explore ways to use it more in my language block. Finally, I want to read stories and nonfiction selections in a way that my students will want to reread or retell them.
Linda beat me to the punch. Shelley Stagg Peterson's comment resonated with me too when she said, "Substituting formal reading instruction for read-alouds is like showing a child how to grow flowers by providing a hoe to dig holes but neglecting to provide the seeds or take the time to watch those seeds grow." Page 94 A good read-aloud gives students a reason to want to learn to read and to access text that they might not otherwise be able to read on their own. I feel I am bringing stories into my Iraqi students' lives through my daily read-alouds.
In my class all year and also this summer read alouds play an integral role in my classroom. At the end of the week, when asked what they wanted to learn more about, last week one student wrote, "I want more listent reading stores". My heart sang. Next week I plan to introduce reader's theater to them which will probably be a new concept for them. I appreciated that Layne underscored the importance of reader's theaters as an extension of read alouds. After modeling read-alouds for my students I am interested to see whether they are able to use pitch, tone and inflection in their oral reading.
This may be weird to insert here, but Christina, as I am reading over the comments, I am totally intrigued with your summer teaching assignment! I hope when you return, you'll accept an invitation to tea and will be willing to tell me all about it!
I remember trying to coach a student teacher on the art of reading aloud. Basically, when she read aloud, the kids were disruptive, rolling all over the rug, and not into the story in any way. When I read aloud to that same group, they would sit there with their mouths hanging open, anticipating and engaged in the story. Her comment to me was that she was not as good an actor. I remember telling her that it was something she was going to have to learn and she'd get better with practice. In today's world with all the bells and whistles that technology offers, there is nothing more satisfying to me than observing my students hanging on every word during read-aloud time.
I appreciated Layne's challenge to use Reader's Theater to teach tone, pitch, pace, enunciation, inflection, etc. I use Reader's Theater regularly to give fluency practice, but haven't modeled and taught those aspects of reading aloud nearly enough.
And I also will use the suggestion to have children act out what they are visualizing. I imagine some children would find that less threatening than putting their thoughts to words.
Layne says, "Comprehension is key to effectively bringing the text to life." I like how Raquel put it, reading aloud is thinking aloud. Isn't it interesting how we can often gauge our students' comprehension as we listen to them read orally? Once in a while there is that baffling student who reads orally with expression but then can't talk about what they just read! Anyone know how that works?!
Like Sylvia, I am challenged by this chapter to include more Readers Theater in my instruction, focusing not just on fluency, but taking the time to coach students in the use of their voices to convey meaning. They like to give characters voices, which could be a good jumping-off place for coaching.
A final thought I wanted to share from reading this chapter on the Art of Reading Aloud is a tribute. Not that I am in any way an expert, but I know that reading aloud expressively to my students is as much of an art for me as it is because of my dad. A professor for 50 years of speech and Shakespeare, among other things, he studied rhetoric and poetry, while he artfully read Winnie the Pooh and Bible stories to me and my sister. As teenagers, we were roped into his invitations to do readings for church and community events, and coached relentlessly. Maybe I resented those performances at the time--but now when I launch into a great book with a class, I am so grateful for that early modeling, training, and practice!
Reading in different character voices is a challenge for me - particularly if they are male voices. I can remember the first time I ever read The Outsiders aloud to my students and I attempted to use voices for all the main characters. The only one that I could remember and recreate throughout the book was the voice I used for Cherry Valance, the only real female main character in the book. I tried to come up with voices for the three brothers, Ponyboy, Darry, and Soda. Then I needed additional voices for the main gang members, Two Bit, Johnny, and Dally. Ugh! What a nightmare! I still laugh when I think about it - I couldn't keep any of them straight!
Reading with expression definitely keeps the students engaged with the read aloud and I think I have a pretty good handle on that.
Like most of the others who responded above, I want to work more with students and their visualization of the story.
Haha! This makes me giggle, Mom, as I know what an amazing job you do with reading aloud having listened to you as a child, and now when you read to my children, but what I wouldn't give to have heard you trying to create voices for all of the male characters in The Outsiders! I can only imagine!!! :)
I'm glad Layne interjected the use of Reader's Theater in this chapter. It is important for students to read aloud for enjoyment, comprehension, phrasing, vocabulary development, etc. In a previous school, the book room had sets of Rigby leveled reader fairy and folk tales. The first part of the book is the story in narrative form. The second section is the same story in Reader's Theater form. They are wonderfully fun to do with a class and give life to the classics as well. Does anyone here use them? What are your favorite sources for high quality fun reader's theater scripts? Do you write your own? A teacher friend of mine rewrites fun poetry such as that of Shel Silverstein in reader's theater format. She says it doesn't take long and the class has the poems memorized. Sounds fun!
Anita, I have several Reader's Theater books that you are welcome to borrow. I particularly love the fractured fairy tale ones I have. I love to read the real fairy tale aloud, and then have the group do the fractured fairy tale of that book as a Reader's Theater.
I feel like I'm repeating what many have said before, but I also need to do more with reader's theater in my classroom -- my reading group LOVES it every time, but I'm ashamed to say I'm the one Layne describes as using it once a year. I would also like to know where to find some more good scripts, if anyone has suggestions! I use the scripts that go with our A-Z Readers - not all of them are great but I've used some fun ones!
I liked the questions that Layne offered to help students with 'seeing the movie' playing in their minds. I can just picture my little firsties answering the question, "Can you see the look on _____'s face?" with a facial expression of their own - to show what the character is feeling in the moment. I like how asking such guiding questions can 'allow students to come gently to the understanding that most readers do' visualize (Layne). Students are quick to pick up on what their peers are doing, and it provides some great motivation, without calling a student out.
For one of our college classes, I remember our professor grading us on our oral reading! I thought it was a crazy assignment designed to embarrass us while we read from one of our favorite childhood books! (College peers can be very intimidating!) I tend to have an upbeat personality so I LOVE reading aloud to my students! I love being caught up in the story with my kids as the book comes to life. However, I’ve realized that a lot of my own students don’t understand how to read aloud. I learned while reading this chapter that I need to do a better job of teaching appropriate enunciation, volume, pace, tone, and pitch. (Pg 85). Like many others, I tend of overlook the importance of Readers Theatre. I have tried a few but I always struggle finding scripts that meet the needs of my kids or scripts with just the right amount of characters. I love using fun poems for fluency and expression but would like to implement more opportunities for my kids to practice with Readers Theatre!
In reading Many Reasons for Read Alouds by Rita Bean, I underlined three key points that she made. First, she talked about the importance of reading a favorite book aloud because it helps build students' love for reading. Second, read alouds help students have exposure to and gain a bigger understanding of difficult words and concepts which they may not normally be able reach on their own. Third, it builds community and connections through shared experiences. To me, the third point Rita Bean makes is the most powerful. We have to have shared experiences and discussions in order to understand each other and build relationships.
Shelly Stagg Peterson's paragraph that resonated with me is retyped below.
"Although there may be no deliberate imparting of knowledge or targeted skill development, the list of learning outcomes for read-alouds mirrors language arts curriculum objectives around the world. Enhanced reading and listening comprehension, expanded vocabulary, motivation to engage with texts, deepened understanding about particular topics, and recognition of ways in which language can be used in a range of contexts are among the many outcomes of read-alouds. As teaching tools, read alouds offer far more to students than what can be described in a specific learning objective." (94)
Peterson's words and wisdom about the read aloud are simply AMAZING!!!
I love reading aloud, and changing my voices for different characters. My struggle is that I am often not the only adult in the room, and am not as comfortable doing these voices in front of my peers. The struggle is real, my friends! Haha! I know that this can be an opportunity to model fluent reading for the teachers I work with as well, but I'm just not as comfortable in that situation.
I am also a huge fan of Reader's Theater. I specifically love using them with my second grade students that I serve. They love performing for their classmates, as well as their parents. I am guilty of not using them enough, but plan to implement more in the upcoming school year.
I really enjoy working on weekly fluency poems with my 4th and 5th graders. We then have what we call a "Poetry Standoff" on Fridays. We "judge" which group was the most fluent/expressive, and they receive a small prize.
I am a real fan of Reader's Theater with you Dana. Last year I saw our 4th graders grow so much in prosody and fluency and all while having fun creating a RT to share with the rest of the class. Benchmark Literacy offers a great array of different genre RT. I am eager to extend this into 3rd and 5th this year. I would use my flip cam to tape the final show and then the kids would find areas of strength and growth in each other.
Okay so this chapter made me feel like I at least have one thing going for me...Lol! I guess I feel like I've done this for so long now that it's like second nature. In fact, my children sometimes (especially my older daughter) will say, "Mom, just read it normal" because I tend to want to "get in to" everything that I read.
I will say that I appreciated the tips on how to get students to visualize. Although I found that after reading the tips that I was happy that I often used many of those tactics but didn't realize exactly how and what they were doing to benefit my students.
I will admit though, that I often make the mistake of phrasing things incorrectly in text. If I don't get a chance to read things myself before reading them aloud...I'll catch myself putting emphasis on the wrong words which totally changes the meaning of the phrase. But I still think that this is okay because it lends itself to the opportunity to rephrase and compare the two in front of the students so that they can see how it truly makes a difference and effects the way that you comprehend what is going on.
Kimber Tate, Coordinator of English, Reading and Libraries