They say stay in the lines, but there’s always something better on the other side.
I must admit I didn’t have high expectations for sushi at the airport. After looking through the menu, Brenda and I ordered beverages.
“Okay,” said our waitress, Trang. “But would you like something better?” We smiled and ended up ordering the drink she suggested.
Then she was back again to take our order. As we listed off the sushi rolls she listened intently and then said, “Okay, but would you like something better?” Why not?
The sushi experience brings to mind a sixth-grade student, Clay, who brought the classic story of Moby Dick rewritten for “21st Century Learners” to a reading conference with me. While I’m all for the concept of finding pathways to connect kids with classics, I’m also adamant that they must be well-written and interesting. Listening to him read and asking him about the characters quickly told me he was not comprehending or enjoying the book, so I took a different route.
“What would happen if you stopped reading this book right now and we chose something that you actually wanted to read?” I asked.
It was the first time I saw Clay smile.
Thanks to Trang, I now have a new line to use in conferences with Clay and students like him. “Okay, but would you like something better?”
This week we’re highlighting tips and tools for something better in your read alouds. Plus more as always — enjoy!
Senior Editor, Choice Literacy
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From the Choice Literacy archives, Franki Sibberson shares her picks of read alouds that build fluency with young learners because they are fun to read over and over again:
We’re featuring Choice Literacy member and contributor picks for read alouds early in the school year on both our Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/ChoiceLiteracy) and Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/choiceliteracy/) sites. We hope you click through often this month for read aloud ideas.
Jim Trelease has created a series of free brochures for families with lots of good advice on reading aloud:
There are many sites on the web featuring children’s authors reading their work. One of our favorite newer picks is Barnes and Noble’s Studio Storytime. In this selection Mo Willems reads The Pigeon Wants a Puppy, with lots of attention given to his detailed illustrations:
Literacy teachers are part of a global community. If you want a reminder of how much our work matters, look no further than photographer Steve McCurry’s blog.Â His post To Fly is filled with gorgeous pictures of readers from around the world, interspersed with quotes you’ll want to savor and share:
McCurry’s photo essay on writing, Just Write, is also hauntingly beautiful:
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Shari Frost explains how interactive read alouds are the “kickboards” of programs to support struggling readers in the intermediate grades, providing crucial scaffolds and structure for comprehending texts:
Melissa Styger has some simple suggestions for streamlining and improving student written responses to read alouds in Enhancing Read Aloud and Eliminating Notebook Clutter:
This week’s video is a new Book Matchmaker. Franki Sibberson shares her latest suggestions for read alouds that invite participation from young readers:
If you’re looking for a wonderful read aloud for your next staff meeting, look no further than Dear Eve Bunting by Ruth Ayres. A persistent seven-year-old has some powerful messages about confidence, patience, and sending writing out into the world:
What can music add to the classroom? Plenty! Sean Moore and Heather Rader provide many examples and favorite tunes in The Power of Music:
New PD2Go:Â Joan Moser (of “The Sisters“) demonstrates how to confer in kindergarten:
That’s all for this week!