Do you ever start a read-aloud and realize that, while it seemed to be a perfect set-up/story/time/etc for you, it just wasn’t really right for your audience? I’m guessing the answer is yes… If it’s not, then can you share all of your secrets with us? For the rest of us, rest assured that you’re not alone! I’d been wanting to write about rethinking your read-aloud expectations for a while, and then when I came across Too Many Frogs! by Sandy Asher, illustrated by Keith Graves, I thought this might be the perfect picture book to illustrate this point. Continue reading “A Read-Aloud Tip AND a Book Recommendation!”
“There’s no crying! There’s no crying in baseball!” Raise your hand if you can name that movie… That’s what I thought! Tons of people know A League of Their Own. Unfortunately, not nearly as many people know much at all about the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (aside from what they may have learned from A League of Their Own). Fortunately for me and for my students and children, my wonderful dad (who was my baseball coach when I was little and played baseball with the boys for years…) bought me Players in Pigtails, written by Shana Corey and illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon, my first year teaching. Fifteen years later, I’m thrilled to say that I still love this book and am so glad to be able to teach my girls about both a time in history when girls weren’t allowed to play baseball AND the strength girls can have to break gender stereotypes and accomplish great things athletically.
Continue reading “Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey”
David Wiesner is one of those authors/illustrators for me… When I hear that he has a new book coming out, I immediately request it from the library so that I can get it right when it arrives. I just love his work. While Flotsam remains my favorite book of his (and one of my favorite wordless books, too), Art and Max is a close second. As an added bonus, my girls adore Art and Max as well! Read on for reasons why we love this wordless wonder! Continue reading “Art and Max by David Wiesner”
Last week, I wrote about a simple way to help your children get so much more out of picture book read-alouds than they might be getting. (You can read more about that here). Today, I’ve got 5 really easy conversations starters that you can use with your children before, during, and after read-alouds, whether picture books or chapter books, to both deepen their comprehension of the book and build your connection over that book. Continue reading “Read-Aloud Conversation Starters”
I’ve been spending some time over the last few weeks working on a list of wonderful picture books for the summer, as well as the list of books about moving, and while going through all of those books, I realized I had the perfect pair of books to share with you! So, today, I bring you two wonderful books about building houses– Building Our House by Jonathan Bean and If I Built a House by Chris Van Dusen! Continue reading “Two Favorite House-Building Books”
Last fall, a follower asked me to recommend some books to read with her children to help prepare them for an upcoming move. I gathered some ideas (with many recommendations from you all!) and passed along a small list. I continued to add to it, though, trying to read through some of your recommendations. Then, this spring, a few other friends asked me for the same list. So, I decided it was time to put some effort into it and create my official list of recommended books about moving! Continue reading “Books About Moving”
A few months ago, my husband came out from reading with the girls before bed and announced that storytime had gotten significantly more meaningful because he decided to simply sit and wait at the end of a page. He wouldn’t turn the page himself, he’d just wait until either the girls turned it themselves or asked him to turn it…
As a teacher, I read many many studies about the benefits of increased “wait time” (the time between when a teacher asks a question and a child answers it) to the quality of students’ thinking and responses. Studies show, in fact, that “the length of student responses tends to increase at least threefold” when the wait time is at least 3 seconds. “Student responses tended to be more substantive, including more thorough argumentation and less mimicry of what the instructor had already stated. On top of all that, increased wait time appears to be directly related to increased student motivation!” (from https://ucat.osu.edu/blog/value-awkward-silence-increasing-wait-time-classroom/).
And we’ve seen the same thing in our house when we let the girls lead in terms of how quickly we move through a picture book! The girls notice more about the illustrations (which are often integral to the story in a picture book), they ask insightful questions about the characters or plot, and they make more connections to the stories. We learned from this that, as adults, we tend to move through picture books at our reading speed, which is WAY too fast for children to process the story, and WAY too fast for them to take in all the details given through the illustrations.
With children’s picture books, it can be tempting for adults to flip through the pages at the pace of the prose… Looking with intensity, or “close looking…” calls for a change of gears, or a downshift. “If we want to be able to make the most of a picture— to be open to it and wonder why we feel as we do in front of it— we need to look not just as what’s being represented but rather at everything that presents itself, and grasp at the how as well as the what… The more you know, the more you’ll be able to discover and the more meanings you’ll be able to make.” (page 165).
How do you pace your picture book read-alouds? Are you willing to have your “page-turn wait time” feel a little awkward for the benefit of your children?