professornana (professornana) wrote,

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What does it mean to read aloud?

The research on read aloud is quite empathetic. There are myriads of articles that conclude that reading aloud is important. Despite the failure of some federal programs to note the important nature of reading aloud, the research is conclusive. What troubles me of late is that some are usurping the term read aloud and perverting this activity, commodifying it into a PROGRAM. Here is the latest piece that talks about read aloud without really meaning read aloud:

The Read Aloud Project focuses on building student comprehension and vocabulary by enhancing read alouds with activities. Students in the school’s kindergarten through second grades are read books that are two to three grade levels above their own.

Teachers start by reading the book for pleasure. The next day, teachers will read the book aloud and ask questions regarding new vocabulary words and sounds. Then, teachers add different learning activities each day, which include drawing, writing and talking.

Here is the link to the article which came, of course, from Smart Briefs: Kids get to spend 30 minutes a day over 5 days talking about the same book. I suspect that even the strongest lover of books will begin to cringe on the 3rd and 4th and 5th day when the teacher pulls out MAKE WAY FOR DUCKLINGS or WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE and fires off question after question.

What I see time and again is that condescension toward reading aloud a book for the sake of simple pleasure without all of the follow up activities. It is no longer enough to read and enjoy. Now, we must read and drill and kill books. And what is wrong with asking kids about their feelings? Have we totally dismissed the affective part of education? Do feelings not count?

I sat last week and wept as the families of those massacred in the A.M.E. church in Charleston spoke to the killer about forgiveness and redemption. If someone were to follow up with "text-dependent" questions, I probably would not be very forgiving. Sometimes, we just need to feel the story. Period.
Tags: commodification, read aloud
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