I brought back a few new ideas to the classroom after attending a literacy workshop at NAEYC in Dallas titled:
Wow your crowd with a read-aloud: 10 Strategies to increase engagement and interaction
I learned a lot of great ideas, but a couple pointers that I found helpful were:
Do not put books on the book shelf until they have been read aloud to the children.
If they don't "know" and love the books, than they are less likely to care for them and actually examine them on their own. We have a much younger and newer crew this year and there have been many injuries to our books. The children often pull them off the shelf, but rather than look at them they just stand or sit on them. I realized that I many of the books on the bookshelf had no context to them. They didn't know the story. I have a lot of books that are special to me. Those are my favorites to read. Unfortunately I have them all on a special shelf so they don't get ruined. I read them and then put them away. These are the stories the children would love to hold, because I love to read them. I have decided to start investing in second copies of all those books for them to have on their shelf.
They also reminded me of the importance to read the children books over and over again.
I know the importance of repetition for their language skills. I know the importance of them learning a story so thoroughly that they are able to retell it. However, it is easy to get into a routine of reading new books, because as adults we get bored with reading the same books over and over again. Children want to hear the same stories over and over again!
When I got back to the classroom I took all the books off our forward facing book shelf. I decided to start simple. I started reading them all our board books. I put the board books on the shelf. I knew these would be the easiest books for them to handle, but also the easiest books to memorize. I am not talking about texture and lift-a-flap board books. Many great classic stories can be found in the form of board books. Three all time favorites from our board book collection are Jamberry, Brown Bear Brown Bear, and The Three Bears.
Part of our daily routine is to clear from lunch, use the bathroom and then choose a book. They bring the book and their nap bag over to their mat and get everything settled. They read their books alone. Once children have settled into the school year a little bit, we occasionally have "book sharing."
I will invite children to another child's mat to share their books with each other. I felt the difference this week. Everybody is finally settling into the routine. I knew they were ready to give sharing a try.
I remind them to sit next to each other. I encourage them to hold one book on two laps, because that is the true meaning of sharing. The child who chose the book off the shelf is the "reader." Then they switch books and readers. I was not only amazed with their interest and new ability to sit next to each other and share their books, but I heard something new.
As I walked around peaking at them, I heard them repeating the words to the books that I had recently read. Success. :)
Just a few of the things they are learning:
Sharing space with others
|Similarities: Noticing they both have books about bears.|
|Explaining proper book handling |
to our younger friends.