The Magic of Read Aloud

After a late winter hibernation, we're back with a post from our kids' literature-lover in residence, Maureen Alley.  

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Picturebooks are one of my love languages; I delight in finding excellent ones and sharing them with my students.  I firmly believe that no one is too old to listen to a good picture book read out loud by a spirited reader.  

My love of picturebooks probably keeps me from reading as many chapter books to students as I could. I have also been anxious about choosing a chapter book that would be engaging for the wide age-range of students I teach at Red Oak.  I'm happy to report that we just finished our chapter boo read aloud, and it was a wonderful experience all around.

The 3- and 5-day Cardinals and Hawks just finished listening to The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. It's a sweet story about a robot who gets shipwrecked on a wild island and has to adapt to survive.  There's adventure, danger, humor, technology, animals, and illustrations.  In short, there's something in this book for everyone.  

There is a sweet spot during read-alouds when the reader connects with the listeners and the listeners connect with the story and we all get swept away together.  That happened each day we read The Wild Robot at Red Oak.  The students had sketchbooks, in which they could draw or doodle anything story-related while they listened.  Some students listen better while their hands are moving, some need to sit still and focus.  We also created a graffiti board, a collective sketch project where we drew plot points, characters, and settings.  

It truly was magical.  The students gasped at scary parts, spontaneously clapped when our robot succeeded, and collectively begged for "Just one more chapter!"  I had so much fun reading this book to Red Oak students, and they had so much fun hearing it that they decided they wanted our next chapter book to be the sequel, The Wild Robot Escapes.  I've invited the students to bring in their own copy of the book if they have it so they can read along with the read-aloud as we experience the magic together.  

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melissa frueh