Friday, November 20, 2015

Book Review: In Defense of Read Aloud

In Defense of Read-Aloud: Sustaining Best Practice
by Steven L. Layne
Stenhouse Publishers, 2015
Source: Purchased
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I recently read Steven Layne's book Igniting a Passion for Reading and felt so in tune with what he was saying that I picked up In Defense of Read- Aloud and found myself in the same spot.  Only this time it's the middle of the school year and I'm thinking--crap! I did all of this wrong.  How to fix it?

I love reading aloud to my students and I have always tried to pick quality books that are newer and hopefully not many students have heard of or read before.  After reading Igniting over the summer, I already knew I was going to schedule read aloud time into my routine.  I believe I have been pretty successful at keeping up with this routine and following it.  We're reading Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin and my kids love it! They have begging to find out what happens to Rose Howard and her dog. However I've realized how incorrectly I'm going about this.

"Incorrect?" you ask. "It's a read aloud.  Just read it.  Aloud.  Done." Since I'm pretty confident in my ability to read books aloud and pull kids in, I thought I was doing great.  But I've realized that I haven't really been utilizing it to its full potential.  Instead of really using read alouds as a teaching tool, I've been using them as just "this a time to enjoy a book being read to you, kids." Sure we discuss ideas that come up and I stop to ask questions, but I never thought of planning those around my other lessons. I am embarrassed to admit that it didn't cross my mind earlier.  

I agree with so much of what Steven Layne says about reading aloud to kids--of all ages. There are so many books I want to share with my students, but they won't necessarily choose them, or they might be too difficult for them.  Problem solved with the read aloud.  

Teachers, please read this book--or any other Steven Layne book.  He's brilliant and hilarious and his writing comes across in an easy style that makes you believe he might be your best friend--or at the very least a good friend.  It's easy reading, but with so many ideas and content packed in that you're left wondering what it is you've been doing with yourself all these years of teaching!  Reading his work will make you think more about your habits and your expectations.  You'll start looking at the structure of your class and how you can incorporate some or all of his ideas.  

Images: Goodreads

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