Monday, January 30, 2017

Why I Read Aloud to my Middle Schoolers

So I have this theory that is not at all, to my knowledge, backed up by formal research. 

Just observations I have made over my 13 years teaching.

My students don't understand the patterns of dialogue, character voices and tones, and nuances found in a novel because they have not been read aloud to consistently.

I know elementary teachers do read alouds, but a lot of times the teachers are the only ones that have the books.  Students listen, but they are not seeing how it is written, so they can not replicate when reading independently.

Students need to read the words in their head as it is read aloud.  They need to see how the dialogue is written in order to understand quotation marks. They need to recognize that a new paragraph in dialogue in a different character speaking. 

This is something that, and I'm not exaggerating here, 85 out of my 110 students do not understand at the beginning of the year.
I still remember the first book read aloud to me that I got my own copy to follow along with.  It was in third grade and my teacher, Mrs. Roth, read Island of the Blue Dolphins.  It was magical! I was so engaged with the characters and their challenges that didn't want her to stop. When she had to, I couldn't wait to read again the next day.  I felt the characters were apart of me. It was in that moment a reader was born.

This is the moment I try to give to my 7th graders. 

So when you walk by by classroom, you will hear me reading aloud. I take on Katniss' persona, I try to capture the angst of Four, and the ego of John Wilkes Booth. After a couple of weeks of them hearing me, I assign reading parts.  {Check out this post for a more detailed explanation of this process}.

And then, at the end of the book, you will hear my students clapping, sighing, and excitedly asking if we will read the sequel {not in class, but they do it on their own!}

If you have any questions about how I do read alouds, please email or comment below! I will be happy to share!!

Happy Teaching,

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