Friday, May 17, 2013

A captivating read-aloud

My kinders this year love our daily chapter book read-aloud.

Every class has always enjoyed this part of rest time... but this class is really into it.

They laugh out loud. They can literally recall every detail -- from names to the sequence of events to unique adjectives. I love every minute of it because I know that while they think they are simply enjoying a story, I know they are strengthening their listening comprehension and gaining a true appreciation and love of reading.

My kinders literally beg me to read a second chapter everyday... but I never do. :) I love keeping them intrigued.

It's difficult to find a perfect chapter book to read-aloud to kinders. It has to be funny, engaging, and concrete -- with relatable characters. Oh, and of course, the chapters can't be too long!

Every year, I read The Buddy Files series. It's about a dog that's also a detective. It's perfect for little ears. However, there are only 5 books in the series... and we finished them all this semester! All 50 chapters!

So, I let the kinders pick the next chapter book. I picked a few from my personal collection that I knew would fit the requirements. I read the back cover description and let them vote.

Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary won the vote by a landslide. I mean, it doesn't get any more intriguing than a mouse on a motorcycle!

However, I knew it was a little wordy and pretty long for my kinders. The chapters were nearly twice as long as The Buddy Files chapters. But, I was willing to give it a shot.

They loved it. The kinders ate up every minute of the fifteen-minute daily read-aloud. They laughed at all of Ralph's antics, wrote about him in their journals, and couldn't stop guessing what would happen in the next chapter. It was awesome.

We finished the book yesterday and started the sequel, Ralph S. Mouse, today. To celebrate, we watched the movie version of Mouse and the Motorcycle and they watched all 40 minutes with wide-eyed laughter.

But, that's not the best part of this story...

If you've ever seen me teach, or if you've read my blog at all, you know I'm absolutely ridiculous. I'll admit it -- if adults ever saw me do my job on a regular basis, I would be so embarrassed! But, my kids love my energy, silliness, and theatrical style. It keeps them engaged and I have so much fun.

Whenever I read books to them, I use my best character voices. What teacher doesn't?! It makes the read-aloud so enjoyable.

Especially with Mouse and the Motorcycle, I "developed" signature voices for each character. There is so much dialogue in the book, I got sick of saying "Keith said" or "Ralph said" every other sentence. So, Ralph's voice was nice, squeaky mouse voice and Keith's was a nice, normal human voice. The kids always knew who was talking this way.

Well, the other day, I was reading a picture book to the class with a dog in it. The dog's talk bubble said, "Hey! That's my bone!" and I read it in a silly character voice.

One of my students gasped with big eyes, turned to the kinder next to him, and said (completely seriously) - "Hey! That dog sounds just like Ralph in our chapter book!!"

I had to cover my mouth to keep from laughing. It was so innocent, so genuine, and so funny.

I love that my kinders literally believe in our books -- they live the stories. How awesome!

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