This is the second posting about our professional book study: Igniting a Passion for Reading!
"If we can't make kids read (and we can't), then shouldn't we be concerned about monitoring how often we're providing experiences with text that are enjoyable so they might consider reading on their own?" (Layne, 2009)
This book has provided my teachers and I with so much quotable inspiration that I have to share some of it with you!
Igniting a Passion Through Book Chats
In this chapter, Layne shares his number one surefire strategy to be able to pair books with readers:
"Read books written for the age group you teach and then tell the kids about the books."
I love to read books written for adults (like me), and I read a smattering of children's books, but it's really not enough to keep up with all of the new stuff! If we become voracious readers of children's books and have a large collection of books we can recommend and pair up with readers, our reading instruction becomes far better.
The way Stephen Layne actually "tells" kids about the books is Book Chats. Book Chats are 5-7 minutes long (I could see you getting away with 3-4 minutes in elementary school) and are basically carefully planned commercials that include a few of the following pieces:
1. A Hook - just like we teach in writing, a good hook creates excitement and interest in the book. Some ways Layne shares to create a great hook are to
- Ask a thought-provoking question related to the theme/topic of the book.
- Dress up/use a simple prop
- Possibly read an excerpt (choose carefully!)
- Use an accent related to the book
2. Share a few reasons this book is a great read, or share your reaction to the book
One of our teachers dresses up to share Fancy Nancy!
My favorite quote from this section:
"If I walk into an elementary school classroom wearing a plastic tiara and announce that my name is Nancy (to introduce Jane O'Connor's Fancy Nancy), believe me, I have everyone's attention."
Keep in mind, the author speaking is Stephen Layne lol.
Igniting a Passion Through Effectively Reading Aloud
As my teachers and I were discussing this chapter, we talked a lot about where our love of reading came from. Many of us had positive reading experiences in the home, with a parent or older sibling. Unfortunately, many of our students don't have those experiences. By effectively reading aloud (and yes, I have seen this done INeffectively), we can create a positive reading experience for our kids!
To quote Stephen Layne, "To reach these kids, we're going to have to impact the way they think about books and the way they feel about books."
Throughout the chapter, Layne gives several reasons to read aloud to kids. I've never had a principal who didn't believe in the value of reading aloud to children, but in case you do, this chapter provides some good reasons and quotable moments to share with them!
Reason Number One: It's fun! "A good book read well will do more for the woes of the disenfranchised readers than all the leveled books our publishers can crank out."
Reason Number Two: It exposes them to a variety of genres. "The conscious choice of reading aloud from a wide range of genres is certain to broaden the interests of our students because many of them have failed to explore multiple genres."
Reason Number Three: It can improve children's listening skills. "In the elementary and middle grades, it is important for us to capitalize on the difference between a child's listening level and the silent reading level of the same child because, in most cases, there is about a two-year difference in these levels."
Reason Number Four: Reading aloud provides an opportunity to authentically model and practice targeted reading skills. "To underestimate the value of the teachable moment... could be a serious mistake; through the read-aloud I may be reaching kids who need the most skill reinforcement."
In closing, this line that Stephen Layne quoted from Mary Lee Hahn resonated with me and my teachers, and I wanted to share it with you:
"Read-aloud may look like an ordinary event in a typical classroom, but it feels extraordinary when the teacher who is reading is aware of the power of the book and the importance of his/her role..."
Beautifully put! Thanks for joining our second round of our book study! In a week or so, I'll publish what we noticed when we read chapters five and six!
And for tips about reading aloud, check out my Reader's Workshop MiniSeries: Episode 3 Read Alouds!