Read to 3rd & 4th Grade (7 classes)
Targeted Skills: Making Inferences; Discuss Internal Character Change; Text to Text Connections; Dialogue
When I first read this book to myself, I was not that impressed. But I was looking for something Halloweenish that would allow my kids to make inferences, and I knew they would love the illustrations, so I went with it. The more that I read it aloud this week and noticed how it captured my kids' attention, the more I liked it. So this just proves that I have to look at a read-aloud through the eyes of kids--not just through my librarian eyes.
I read with the lights off and the lamp beside my red chair on, so it created a "spooky" atmosphere, which the kids loved. There are several good spots to stop and discuss the inferences that they are naturally making. I think we need to point out the metacognition behind making an inference--thinking about our thinking--so that kids will realize that they make inferences all of the time when they read and, really, when they live. We also discussed that the creature's dialogue is in a speech bubble (and it rhymes), so this was a good way to work in an element of drama (curriculum focus for the week). The ending can be interpreted a few different ways, so the kids "turned and talked" about what they thought happened, which I pointed out was another inference that we had to make as readers. We noticed that the main character did not just transform physically, but he also went through an internal change, which is important to notice in reading fiction. Most of the kids were able to connect this book to Miss Nelson is Missing (an iconic classic) and the The Black Lagoon series.
Every class wanted to know when they could check this book out because they know that I have to use it for other classes. When I bless a book with a read-aloud and it becomes instantly requested, THAT is the sign of a great book, so I'm glad that I went with my instinct on this one. Once I put Substitute Creacher on the display shelf, I don't think I'm going to see it again until May. And that's how it should be.
Lesson Frame and Higher-Level Questions:
Just Ducks by Nicola Davies
Read to 2nd Grade (5 classes)
Targeted Skills:Discuss Characteristics of Expository Text; Differentiate between Important and Interesting Facts
Just like Over and Under the Snow (see Week 6), this is not your typical nonfiction book. In fact, it is cataloged as an Easy book, but it teaches numerous facts about ducks, so I think that qualifies it as an expository text.
The kids kept track of facts as I read the book to them. Each time they heard a fact, they held up a finger. We stopped at a few facts and decided if they were important or interesting. This is when I relied on the teacher's help since I'm not quite sure how they are teaching this concept. At the end of the book, we decided what the author's purpose was. The kids decided since we learned approximately fifteen facts about Mallard ducks, then the purpose must have been to inform, which makes it a nonfiction book. Even though this book has illustrations and a bit of a narrative structure, it is still saturated with facts. As I have stated in previous posts, I want kids to read the content of the book and think about the author's purpose rather than rely on certain characteristics when deciding if it's fiction or nonfiction.Who says expository text has to boring?
Scaredy-Cat, Splat! by Rob Scotton
Read to Kinder & 1st Grade (9 classes)
Targeted Skills: Asking Questions; Fiction or Nonfiction?
This is a fun read-aloud for Halloween that the kids truly enjoyed. They easily asked questions and remembered how to do the "thinking pose" to show they were thinking about a question (see Week 6).
They were able to categorize this easily as fiction because "cats don't talk, go to school, or make jack-o-lanterns."Good to know.
About My Lesson Frames:
The Fundamental Five, which was required reading for my faculty and is a popular book study in my district. Cain and Laird discuss "framing the lesson," which means posting the lesson objectives in kid-friendly language and in a way that can be easily measured and assessed. Of course, I wanted to do this in the library since it was a campus expectation for every classroom. You might have noticed that I always put "enjoy a book" as the first part of my lesson frame even though this defies the qualities of a "measurable objective" according to Cain and Laird.
But there is method to my madness; my main goal in the library is to work in the affective domain, which is often ignored when it comes to learning.The classroom is all about the SKILL of reading; teachers camp out in the cognitive domain, which of course, is crucial to learning. But in our standardized testing-crazed culture, we pay very little attention to the attitudes and feelings of the learner because these are difficult to assess in a standardized format. In my opinion, this is why so many of our kids do not ENJOY reading. They CAN read, but the question is WILL they read when given the choice?
As a librarian, my job is to plant those warm, fuzzy feelings for reading--make it fun, exciting, enjoyable so that they will become READERS FOR LIFE. One of the ways that I do this is through carefully chosen read-alouds. Of course, we also dance around in the cognitive domain and do the things that good readers do when we enjoy a read-aloud.
Here is the philosophy that I live by as a librarian. In fact, this sign is posted at the entrance to the Shaw Library:
"Don't just assume that because kids can read, they will read. The skill and the will are two very different things; we need to acknowledge that fact, and then we need to teach as if we understand that fact to be true."
--Steven Layne Igniting a Passion for Reading
The focus of the Shaw Library is on the WILL of reading.