Friday, September 10, 2010

Reading Aloud to Students

It's amazing what reading aloud to your students will do. 

For the past 4 years,  I have started the year off reading The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau.  I teach 6th grade...and the book's reading level is a grade equivalent of 5.1.  It's an independent level book for 75% of my students, but I'm still reading it to them.  

We're nearing the end, and each day when I have to put it away, they are begging me to continue reading.   Kids crave a good story.  They will sit and listen.  They enjoy it.  It makes them think.  They discuss the story and make predictions in the lunch line.  They want to get caught up with what is happening when they've been absent and miss a day of reading.

I have one copy of the second book in the series, The People of Sparks, in my classroom library.  The cover is not connected to the book anymore and held together by tape.  I just ordered a second copy from and am awaiting its arrival. 

There's no technology involved in my reading aloud to the students.  No flashy screens, cameras, or sound effects are attached to the book.  It's just a good story.

No wonder my education professor, Dr. Susan Sherwood, stressed that you should read to your students every day.  I'm a believer. 

What have you read to your students lately? 


  1. Just finished Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House) with my first graders. They applauded when it ended.

    We read picture books daily. Mo Willems is a favorite...and Chicken Butt by Erica S Perl had to be read 3 times in a row today before they'd had enough.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Lori! When I taught 2nd grade, the kids loved the Magic Tree House books!

  3. Great post! I agree reading to kids, even Middle School is so important! I start the day with a read aloud myself with my 6th graders. We are reading Harris and Me by Gary Paulson. The kids are absolutely dying (its quite funny). In fact, I had a kid who might have peed his pants he was laughing so hard on Friday. I also love reading Surviving the Applebees and an oldly but a goodie the Outsiders with the kids

  4. I always start the year with Fourrth Grade Rats by Jerry Spinelli. It's a great starting place for us 4th graders. I like to use books on tape as well. We are listening to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone right now.

  5. Barbara and Eric,

    Great reads! It's so wonderful to enjoy literature with your kids!

    I read Surviving the Applewhites for the first time last year and it is a great one!

  6. I think reading is very important for kids of any age. I teach an afternoon program for the YMCA, I'm thinking about implementing literature in a weekly activity. And this post really helped me decide.

  7. @Carlis
    I'm so glad you're going to share literature with your YMCA students!

  8. It's amazing how high school students can be captivated by a good children's book. I use books like The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Lane Smith (a great example of multiple perspectives in history). Short reads like this are helpful examples of content concepts and spark good classroom discussions. I was once a guest teacher in an AP class where the students begged me to read my book to them from the rocking chair and they all sat on the floor around me! High school students appreciate being read to as well.

  9. @Liz
    You post a good reminder that no matter the age, we all love a good story!