professornana (professornana) wrote,

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Making reading pleasurable

Great article here: The central theses is that giving kids a love of reading is the greatest gift we can provide them. Can I get an AMEN? In order to give this gift, the author suggests some rights. Since Daniel Pennac offered THE READER'S BILL OF RIGHTS in his book, BETTER THAN LIFE, I have written variations on this same theme. I finished my keynote at ALAN last year with my revised BILL OF RIGHTS. And here is another. The first right is near and dear to me:

Children have the right to hear stories without interruption or analysis.

Being read aloud to is so crucial. We have talked about it here before. Check out Jim Trelease's READ ALOUD HANDBOOK for the research behind this activity. It is the second half of the statement though that is essential. No interruption of reading aloud for questions and analysis. Read aloud time is for pleasure and not for a lesson. A recent doctoral dissertation examined the read aloud activity of a handful of elementary school teachers. What was labeled as reading aloud was, in fact, not much more than the teacher reading a part of a book or article and then pausing to ask questions (comprehension, recall, detail, etc.) about the reading. Imagine, for a moment, one of those wonderful read aloud moments in your life. Your parent is reading CHARLOTTE'S WEB aloud a few pages/chapters at a time. Every night, as the final worlds of the chapter are still echoing from the walls of your room, Mom or Dad then asks, "So what words did Charlotte weave into her web first?" or some other inane question. I don't know but that I would be begging Mom or Dad NOT to read after a few of these experiences.

I had an administrator once who asked why I did not ask questions after my daily read aloud. He noticed kids with heads down on desks and eyes closed, other kids doodling in notebooks, some others looking off into the distance. What he did not see (and not to fault him as he was not in front of these kids all the time) is that some kids listen with eyes closed to lock out distractions. Other kids need to do SOMETHING and so doodle. And others are looking off while watching the movie of the story unfold before them. Did a kid nod off every once in a while? Sure. How many of us have nodded off over a book, even a great book, because we were exhausted? Yesterday, my colleague and I booktalked to about 150 undergraduate teacher education students. Some looked at us directly; some looked off into the distance. Still others stared into a distance while a few took notes on their list of books we were presenting. After the presentation was over, though, many of them came forward to look at the books up close, to talk to us about books, to thank us for talking to them about books. o interruptions, no analysis.

Simply, there needs to be time each day for listening to story.
Tags: booktalks, reading, reading aloud
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