written by: Caryl Rice, Reading Teacher at Eagle Hill School
Listen Find Joy in Reading
Remember that feeling as a young child of sitting in a parent’s or grandparent’s lap and being read to? Research has shown that reading aloud to older students is also beneficial.
#Classroombookaday is the brainchild of Jillian Heise. This year I implemented this in my Reading Tutorial and Reading Fluency classes where students work on decoding, comprehension and fluency. Every day we read a picture book as a class. There are no assignments attached to this activity; I simply ask that my students listen to the story, look at the pictures, and enjoy the experience. When the book is finished I ask my students if they have any thoughts or wonders they would like to share. This is when the benefits of #classroombookaday become apparent.
In the beginning, I felt the very least that the students would get from this experience would be the opportunity for me to model reading fluency for them. To my delight, the benefits of this practice have developed and improved with each picture book we have read. The list below highlights some of the benefits I have seen in my classroom from reading a picture book aloud in class each day.
Understanding of theme and genre
Use of text to support their reflection or claim
Exposure to a variety of topics and expansion of background knowledge
Reading and thinking skills
Respectful classroom community
Increased empathy development
Improved listening skills
Text to self, text to world and text to text connections
Exposure to thinking about text and visualizing the story
These skills help students in all subject areas not just with reading. Sometimes I think it is assumed that students in high school have already mastered the skills I listed, where often this is not the case.
Students look forward to our picture book every day. If I forget to read the #classroombookaday, they are quick to remind me. We have read funny books, serious books, books about history, books about math, books about race, culture, religion and holidays, books about children with learning differences, books about families and friends, books about bullying and bravery, and so many other books.
In the reading department, one of our overriding goals is to create lifelong readers which means giving students strategies and skills to strengthen their reading so it is no longer arduous and becomes a pleasurable activity. Reading #Classroombookaday reinforces this notion and creates a class environment students look forward to attending.
Recently our class was reading Her Fearless Run by Kim Chaffee, illustrated by Ellen Rooney. This is the story about Kathrine Switzer the first woman to run with an official number in the Boston Marathon on April 19, 1967. One of my students put both her hands on the table and said “wait” and with the biggest smile on her face, and her expression bursting with delight she proclaimed, “I see myself as Katherine!” Connections give text meaning.
During the African American Read-In, several of my students volunteered to read picture books that were written by African Americans. Pictured are two students reading Of Thee I Sing written by Barack Obama in front of a room full of students and faculty.
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Eagle Hill School is the premier college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 8-12 with diverse learning profiles, such as ADHD and Dyslexia.