When I first began student teaching, my mentor teacher always used to say that there were three things that must happen each day in an elementary classroom. First, students need to write something. Second, students need to actively read something. Finally, there needs to be a point in each day where the teacher reads out loud to their students.
No matter how busy or crazy the school day, he always emphasized the importance of reading out loud, and students loved it.
I've carried those three rules into my own classroom, and reading out loud is something that both I, and my students, always look forward to. I try to pick from a variety of texts as I read out loud: novels, picture books, information texts, silly poems... almost anything! Here are a few of my favourites books to read out loud:
This book is one of the silliest read alouds I have ever purchased, but even after reading it a dozen times (no exaggeration) my students are still begging me to read it "just one more time." Make sure that you're ready to be a little bit goofy, and play along with the story in the book!
This one is my favourite "teaching" books. It has a lesson, and my third graders find it easy to connect to the story. In My Mouth is a Volcano, the main character has difficulty with 'blurting' his thoughts and answers during class, and finds help in visualizing his words as a volcano erupting! I have a class of excited 'blurters' this year, and it's been great to find a book that helps us to see how blurting may hurt other classmates' chance at sharing their ideas.
This book is a few levels above my third grade students, but I read it aloud for a class novel study. It's a great book and has about a hundred chances to make text-to-text connections while you read! It follows the adventures of a group of seventh grade students as they explore (and escape from!) a brand new library designed by an eccentric master game maker. Think The Amazing Race meets Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Note: The first quarter of the book is a little bit slow, and introduces a lot of smaller characters, but stick with it, it gets a lot better!
How about you? What is your class reading right now? What inspires you as a teacher?
*All images of books are from Amazon.com