Posted in Professional Development

Summer Book Study Blog Party – The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease

This year the Summer Book Study Blog Party is starting a bit later, which is so much better for me.  In Canada we don’t finish school until the very end of June so often I find I am playing catch up with the blog party.  This year I have had time to relax for a few days and just last night I read the introduction in Jim Trelease’s The Read-Aloud Hanbook 7th Edition.  If you would like more information on the blog party you can check it out here.  I participated last year and really enjoyed it – a fun an relaxed way to do some professional development over the summer.

Let me start by saying I love books, and I love to read, however I often forget to give myself time to read.  My collection of professional resources I want to get through is daunting.  I have given up reading ‘adult’ books, with the exception of one great book I ‘make’ myself read at the cottage every year.  My ECE partner would confirm that I have an obsession with collecting picture books, between myself and my children we may have more books than the school library.  One of my goals this summer is to organize all my books so today I downloaded the app Book Crawler.  Just starting today I have already added 90 books.  But, I digress, the reason I say this is because even though I love books they are often the quickest way to solve my insomnia.  This wasn’t the case last night when I started The Read-Aloud Handbook.  

After reading the introduction a few key thoughts stuck with me:

  1. I need to read more with my own children.  All three of my kids LOVE books.  My girls (7 an 4) are both avid readers and advanced for their age and my 2 year old son loves following his sisters lead.  Saying that we have become a bit lax with family reading time.  We sometimes read throughout the day but our 20 minutes every night is much more inconsistent.  We rectified that tonight.  First Michael picked a board book Franklin’s Shapes.  Next Eileen and I read Stephanie’s Ponytail together (she insisted on saying the repeating lines).  Finally Kaitlyn and I started a new chapter book The Wide-awake Princess.  The key is for us to keep this up – I know how important it is but even I sometimes need reminders.
  2. How can I get the parents of my students to read this book?  I understand the importance of reading with my children (even though I need reminders) but sometimes I feel that the parents of my students don’t understand quite how powerful it is – which is VERY evident in the introduction to The Read-Aloud Handbook.  Prior to blogging I went on Trelease’s website to check out his brochures.  I am going to take a closer look at these later in the summer and see how I might use them in communicating with my students’ families.
  3. I am excited to keep reading this book, and like it says, I am going to try and get my husband to read chapter 9 (we will see how that goes).

I wanted to share a few quotes from the introduction that really jumped out at me.

It  comes down to simple arithmetic: The child spends 900 hours a year in school and 7,800 hours outside school.  Which teacher has the biggest influence?  Where is more time available for change? (pg. vii)

Contrary to the current screed that blames teachers for just about everything wrong in schooling, research shows that the seeds of reading and school success (or failure) are sown in the home, long before the child ever arrives at school. (pg. xvii)

What we teach children to love and desire will always outweigh what we make them learn. (pg. xxi)

The first two quotes are great to show the influence of parents in education.  I know that some may take this as teachers trying to ‘put the blame on parents’ but I don’t feel that this is warranted.  I work very hard for the hours I have my students during the day to make their learning the most meaningful and relevant that I can but when I see it is number of hours it is overwhelming.  As always the education of children needs to be a partnership – “It takes a village”!

The final quote, I would like to blow up and put over top of the door to my classroom!  This is applicable to a love of reading but has a more broad context to a love of learning!