We are thrilled to share the inspiring words of this super teacher as our guest blogger this week! Retired now, but her passion and love for teaching continues to influence us all. Her support and advice, throughout the years, has deep roots in the foundation of this school, more than she'll probably ever know! This wonderful woman, Cherie Kennedy, is the mother of Via Vita's Co-Founder, Adele MacLean. She writes about Reading Aloud to Children, something we at Via Vita share a passion for, as well. Enjoy!
"Aww, please, Ms. K., don't stop reading now! Please, just turn the page, just read one more chapter!" Now, that was exactly what I had wanted to hear. All the effort I had put into reading and searching out wonderful books and creative prolific authors was well worth it.
As a retired teacher, I miss many things about teaching young people, but reading a delightfully funny, mysterious and surprising story to a group of students is most definitely at the top of my list. I really miss the privilege of witnessing their sense of wonder when they learn something new and surprising. Instilling a passion for reading through reading aloud was just one way to see this sense of wonder.
Keep in mind these were grade 6 students, the ones who are more interested in anything but what their teacher might be trying to impart. Some were already strong readers, some were just getting into reading and then others were not really seeing the benefits from reading, as yet. Reading a book aloud gave all of the children a chance to truly appreciate children's literature and authors.
Many believe that true reading occurs when we can "picture" the characters, the setting, and "feel" the emotions. While I read aloud, students would draw something they pictured and write about it. Later, as they shared what they had drawn, their sense of wonder and imagination was enriched by hearing what their peers had to say. As well, they spent some time predicting what might happen next in the story based on what they had learned about the characters and their situations. It certainly wasn't just the top readers who would share in these sessions, all were eager to share their ideas, opinions and make connections to other books, movies or events in the news.
During these 20 to 30 minutes of Read Aloud, a group of 30 students were totally focused and engaged. Of course, I soon realized that the best time to have this Read Aloud session was at the end of the school day. The last 30 minutes are often times we, as teachers and students begin thinking of other things, not school! Therefore, having students discuss our class book on the way out the door was a pretty cool thing for a teacher to hear.
Chosen for their characters, humour, mystery, and suspense., I give you my top 10, in order only because I had to list them somehow. These 10 are taken from a much bigger list in my head and experiences that are so wonderful to read aloud. Bonus if authors were Canadian!
Written by Cherie Kennedy
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