Monday, October 17, 2011

Reading Aloud

Question: Why read aloud to students of all ages?

Answer: “In the last ten years, there has been a rebirth of interest in reading aloud to young people. Jim Trelease’s The Read-Aloud Handbook (1979) sold over one million copies and appeared in a 1989 revision The New Read-aloud Handbook. Margaret Mary Kimmel and Elizabeth Segel’s fine book For Reading Out Loud! (1988) is now also in its second edition.”

Quote: “These missionaries of read-aloud point to the joy of sharing books with youngsters, the intimate bond it builds between parent and child, the sense of a community of readers it inspires in the classroom, and the educational benefits derived from the experience. Study after study shows that if youngsters are consistently read aloud to, they will improve their vocabulary as well as their reading comprehension, and that listening to fine books favorably affects students’ reading interests and language development (McCormick, 1977). Indeed, the highly quoted Becoming a Nation of Readers (Anderson, Hiebert, Scott, and Wilkinson, 1985) states that ‘The single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children’ “( p. 23).

Quote: “The rebirth of interest in teachers reading aloud to students is now old news. What’s new is the growing realization that more and more teenagers are defining reading motivation not in terms of fiction but nonfiction. We need to tap that interest and make more nonfiction titles an integral part of read-aloud programs in middle schools, junior highs. And high schools. Far from being a lifeless collection of facts, nonfiction books offer teen readers prose that teaches, entertains, and provokes thought—‘the very stuff of life. “ p. 642.

Comment: My memories of teachers who read aloud to our classes stretch from Sister Mary Rupert in fourth grade to Brother Henry who brought to life Shakespeare through his animated reading aloud of The Merchant of Venice in high school. I’ll never forget wondering how Portia would resolve the problem of the pound of flesh. Wonderful memories. RayS.

Title: “Nonfiction in a Read-aloud Program.” B Carter and RF Abrahamson. Journal of Reading (May 1991), 638-642.

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