Workshop: The Teacher Read-Aloud
Each year in
February or March, I invite my eighth graders to evaluate reading
workshop. "You never skip read-aloud, even if the schedule's
been shortened," is a unanimous observation, and I wear it
as a badge. Sharing poems and books with the class nurtures me as
well as students; it sets the tone of our workshop and enables students
to quietly prepare for work.
When I'm pressed
for time, I'll read poetry, short myths, legends, folktales, a newspaper
or magazine article, a picture book selections that I
can complete in five to eight minutes. I'll alternate these selections
with short stories, which are perfect for introducing students to
narrative structure and a variety of themes. In two or three days,
I can complete a short story, giving students and me a common literary
experience to discuss. Together, we can share our personal responses
to the story and examine elements such as charatcer, plot development,
setting, and climax.
I offer students introduce them to new genres and reinforce their
experiences with literary language. It's an opportunity for me to
extend a theme, build prior knowledge about a topic before students
read, and model reading with expression and fluency. Through read-alouds,
I can draw students into the world of story and communicate meaning
and emotion through the beauty of language.
- Always read
the book before you share it with your class to make sure it's
appropriate for your students.
- Reserve a
minimum of 5 to 10 minutes for read-aloud. 8 to 10 is ideal for
- Be dramatic,
become a ham. Students enjoy hearing readers adopt the voices
of different characters. Remember, you're modeling good read-aloud
- Share books
you love, and you'll transmit enthusiasm for reading to students.
- Select a
variety of literay genres and authors throughout the year.
- After completing
a read-aloud, make the book available to students. Many will want
to reread sections, look at photographs or illustrations, or reread
the entire book.