Thursday, May 7, 2009

Why should you read to your students?

Why should you read to your students? How will you choose the books that you read? What kinds of books will you read?

This is one multi-part question from my final exam (READ 4015- Language & Literacy in the Elementary School, K-6)

Here is my answer:

There is no greater way to create a love for books in children than by reading aloud. Reading to children sparks their imagination and gives them a sense of wonder. It will help them appreciate the gift of literature, develop and enrich their own language, and build implicit concepts about reading and writing. Reading to children helps them learn to read in subtle but important ways. It is through reading that children develop a scheme or a sense for stories. Children can use their schema for stories to comprehend material. A story schema is developed early in the lives of children who have been read to frequently. Reading to children also provides models for writing as they develop a sense of plot, characterization, mood, and theme.
When selecting books and other materials to be read, I will keep in mind my students' age and interest levels. I will select materials at times so that they will coincide with other daily or weekly classroom activities. There may be times when a child requests a certain book and if appropriate, I will be honored to read it to the class.
I will incorporate many different types of literary genres: fiction and nonfiction books, fairy tales, nursey ryhmes, newspapers, biographies, plays, etc. I will read books that talk about families of different ethnicities, race, and culture, especially making sure that I read about the types of families of the students in my class at that time. The reading-to-children time must be for enjoyment only. There may be a moral in the story and that's okay, but I will not have this time become a structured lesson.

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