Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Create A Storytelling And Reading Aloud Ritual In Your Classroom

Adults often tell me about teachers they had in elementary school who read aloud in the classroom. They looked forward to those read-aloud times, to the quiet space in which the class lived together within a story. Years later, this is a treasured memory. Teachers today can create the same special atmosphere in the classroom. Here are a few tips on how to do this:

1. Establish a specific time for the storytelling or reading aloud. Are the students bouncing off the wall in the last fifteen minutes of school on Friday afternoon? Maybe this is the time to calm everybody down with a story. Or try Monday morning, as the perfect way to begin the week.

2. Establish a place for the story experience. Will the children stay at their desks or sit on the floor close to you? Many teachers create a reading and listening corner in the classroom, with carpet squares or cushions for the listeners and a rocking chair for the reader or teller. Be consistent about where the students will listen.

3. Take into account the kinesthetic learners, who need to move a little bit in order to listen. Consider allowing the children to draw while listening. If you are telling stories, think about places within the story where you can incorporate participation in the form of repetitive gestures or phrases or both.

4. Allow the children to listen in a relaxed manner, as long as they are not bothering the other students. I often have the children sit “criss-cross applesauce,” (cross-legged) if they are on the floor, so the listeners behind them can see. At the same time, if there’s space, I don’t mind if they lie down. If they are at their desks, they may be more comfortable with their heads down.

5. Look at this special time as a treat for everyone, including you. As you tell or read stories, the children are using their imaginations as well as learning valuable literacy skills. They are expanding their vocabulary, visualizing settings and characters, sequencing and predicting events in the story.

6. Have fun!

1 comment:

Deb said...

My sixth grade Language Arts teacher read The Wind In The Willows to our class over several weeks. At first, we thought we were too old for that sort of thing, but as the story unrolled it became our favorite part of the day.