Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Read Alouds for Grown Ups? Heck Yeah!

Why do I read picture books to college classes?

After some careful consideration of this question, I realized I do it for many reasons. I think one selfish reason is to give myself permission to buy more children’s books for my own library.  I see so many great books that are being published and want to share them with my classes. I am also a big fan of reading aloud to students since it is something I remember fondly both my mother and my elementary teachers doing for me.  There is also research (  that says that reading aloud is good for kids of all ages. Check out these sites Read and Jim Trelease's site. So, why not include my adults in this trend? But I digress. . .

Back to my original premise, why do I read books to my adults in Technology and Education?

1.    I read picture books to my classes to connect with my elementary education majors since I was a secondary teacher.  I want them to know that reading aloud is a good skill to have regardless of what subject and grade level you teach.  
2.    I like reading books to my classes to start conversations about learning. I love it when my class laughs at the funny parts of the books I read, but then worry about what will happen if in the future we stop reading from “real” books and only have electronic versions.  The students also point out the parts of the books that actual school-age kids would miss, but that they see.  I love the conversations that the books start.  
3.    I want all of my students to know that reading aloud can be powerful for students of all ages. One of my best read aloud experiences is when my junior English teacher read Truman Capote’s “A Christmas Memory” aloud to us the day before Christmas break in 1984.  I can still hear her voice doing all the voices of the characters in the story.
4. I like to share books I love with them and cool, new finds I have recently made like Dude: Fun with Dude and Betty, Good Night iPad, and You Will Be My Friend. These books were recommended to me by professional learning network.  I connect with these teachers and librarians via email, Twitter, Facebook, and blogs. Check out these links. On Twitter search the hashtag #titletalk for great monthly talks on books and reading hosted by Donnalyn Miller.  Also, I like the Watch.Connect.Read. blog by Mr. Schu and the Help Readers Love Reading blog.
5.    I am also working on my read aloud technique. My classes in the fall said I had gotten markedly better since the beginning of the semester with the whole read aloud thing. I was better at the voices, the expressions, and the showing the book around.
6.     Finally, I want to use the books to create community in the class. By having the books to bring us together, we have some common ground even though the class includes special education teachers, elementary education teachers, secondary education teachers, and physical education teachers.  It is easy to get them talking about other topics after we have discussed the picture book for the week.  It gives my students confidence in participating in class discussions.

Some books I have read to my classes include:

  • It's a Book by Lane Smith (not for kids--adult humor)
  • It's a Little Book by Lane Smith (for kids)
  • Good Night iPad by Ann Droid
  • Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Palacco
  • Dude: Fun with Dude and Betty by Lisa Pliscou
  • The Dot and Ish by Peter Reynolds
  • You Will Be My Friend by Peter Brown
  • We Are in A Book by Mo Willems
  • When Marian Sang by Pat Munoz Ryan
  • Julius Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes
And finally, I do it because I LOVE TO READ! :)


Dawn Manning Key said...

I enjoyed reading this, Laurie! I have a compassion for reading and a love for children' s books as well (or maybe I just have a "book fetish", or "book problem") as John, my husband says! Lol! I love children's books so much I decided to take classes online at the University of West Alabama to get a second master's in Library Media!

As much as I love technology and know that it is a crucial part of our present as well as our future, we should not leave behind the realism of what old-fashion, tangible books can provide us with.

I remember most vividly my 6th grade teacher reading to us daily after lunch. We made it through several Boxcar Children books by the end of the year. I do not remember any of my other teachers, until college, at least, doing this.

My elementary eduction professors at Troy University were very aware of the importance of reading children's literature aloud to their students. I am very appreciative and thankful for people like you and my previous professors who love and acknowledge the importance of technology, yet continue the tradition of reading aloud "real" books! Thank you!

Dawn Manning Key said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawn Manning Key said...

Oh, and is Goodnight, iPad by Ann Droid the name of a real book and a real author? That is too funny! (I removed the previous post because I left a letter off Goodnight! whoops)

Laurie said...

Yes, Dawn, it is a real book! A friend brought it back from a library conference for me.