I recently saw this meme floating around on Facebook and it struck a chord…this is so me! I was that kid in school who had a book in her lap and would sneak glances down to read because my book was far more exciting than anything I thought my teacher had to say. And I definitely stay up late reading as an adult.
And then I got to thinking about my own students. One thing that hasn’t required a lot of practice is independent reading. My kids love to read! (tough problem, right?) I realized just how often I have to tell my kids to put their book away because we have to move on. Of all the things you don’t want to tell students … that’s it.
And then I thought some more about my students and realized that one of the few times it feels that I have their complete and undivided attention is when I’m reading aloud. They love stories! That means that I need to read aloud more to my students. I love it; they love it; and there are so many lessons that can come through a read aloud.
So, I made a promise to myself that I will read aloud more to my students. Every day. I’m going to go beyond just what the county has told me to read to them. Each day I hope to read aloud a different book to my students. It won’t be a grandiose lesson. In fact, some days it will just be a read aloud. Other days they will have something to reflect on.
My teacher brain is constantly going. So, what looks like a simple read aloud is actually a small part of a much larger plan. We’ll refer back to these picture books constantly throughout the year. One day we might touch on character development during our reading lesson; a week later we might refer back to that same text to see great examples of voice in writing.
But I can’t use these books as teaching tools & building blocks in learning until I’ve read them to my students and they have a growing “book bank” from which to pull ideas, connections, and even vocabulary.
We give our students multiple strategies to help them be successful in math, but sometimes we forget to expand their exposure to text. We spend a lot of time digging deep with one text over the course of a week or even a few weeks if it’s a novel study. There’s real merit in that. But we can’t forget the small sips from an engaging read aloud and the value of that daily exposure.
This week was short due to inclement weather, so I was able to read aloud three picture books to my students on top of the county curriculum requirement. Check out the books below for ideas for your students or children at home.
Creepy Carrots! Words by Aaron Reynolds & Pictures by Peter Brown
Jasper the rabbit has been munching on carrots from Crackenhopper Field a little too long. One day he gets the spooks when he thinks that the carrots are out to get him. Are the carrots actually out to get Jasper or do they have their own plan? We actually read this book twice because my kids loved it so much. They spent time reflecting on who they thought won by the end (Jasper or the carrots) by having the best plan.
Creepy Pair of Underwear! Words by Aaron Reynolds & Pictures by Peter Brown
Jasper the rabbit is back! In this book, he decides that he’s a big boy rabbit and ready for creepy underwear. Well, things don’t go as planned when he notices them glowing at night, which is a bit too creepy for Jasper. He tries to get rid of the creepy underwear, but they keep coming back! How will he get out of this predicament?
My kids constantly sneak this book off the shelf so they can read it independently. Both of these books about Jasper are great fall reads.
Cordelia by Michelle Nelson-Schmidt
This is a powerful book with a female protagonist who learns to believe in herself and to soar as high as she wants to go despite those who say she can’t. This is a story of learning to be your own hero, to stand strong, and to reach for your dreams. My kids took away a powerful message that it doesn’t matter what other people think.