Trelease

All posts tagged Trelease

The Read-Aloud Handbook – What have I learned?

Published August 17, 2013 by Mrs. Malo

I finally finished Jim Trelease’s The Read-Aloud Handbook.  It was nice how he finished the book, and wrapped everything up by telling his own story.  There were two things I highlighted in this chapter.

Personal interest can be a powerful driving force with boys, whether that interest is sports, auto repair, model racing, war, music, or computers. (page 169)

A California professor, once tol me that girls tend to be extrinsically motivated in their reading (favouring the choices of their peers, mom, and teacher), while boys are intrinsically motivated (favouring what they themselves are interested in).  Call it selfish or pragmatic, but guys are drawn more to what interests them, not what interests the crowd.  (page 169)

When I think about this and my class last year it kind of makes sense.  We have a treasure chest in our class and every time I read aloud a book it goes into the treasure chest for students to revisit later.  It is usually the girls who go here to get books.    The boys are less frequently looking for books independently but if I can find a book on something they are interested them, they will spend a much longer time ‘reading’ that book, and usually come to me for another.

So now that I am done reading what have I learned that will affect my teaching practice this year?

  1. I NEED at least 1 read-aloud every day.  I have gone through and taken a long look at my daily schedule.  My ECE and I decided last June that there are some changes we need to make so this is a great time to switch things up.  In the morning we will start with some brain exercises / DPA as we give everyone time to enter and prepare for the day, and then we will go straight to a Read-Aloud.  Sometimes it will connect to a lesson but sometimes it will just be a read-aloud for the fun of reading.  There may be read-alouds at other times throughout the day but we will ALWAYS have one in the morning.  I would like to try and use one book from Trelease’s treasury per week.  Later in the year I would really like to introduce chapter books to my class but we will see how the year goes.
  2. This year we are going to have B.E.A.R. time.  I love this acronym from Pre-K pages that stands for “Be Excited About Reading”.  We have a large class (27 students) so this will take some work.  Our school is on balanced day so we are going to have BEAR time at the beginning of block #3, right after second nutrition break.  I am going to introduce the concept on the very first day by reading Otto the Book Bear by Katie Clemson.  Otto is a character in a book with a special secret – when no one is looking he comes to life.  This is a cute story of how Otto gets accidentally left behind one day and his journey to find a new home.  After reading aloud to the class I will introduce them to our book bear (I am still looking for the perfect stuffed bear).  We will discuss what B.E.A.R. time will look like everyday.  Everyone will get to select a book from the class library and read at their seat.  Because the class is so large we are going to start with everyone reading at their table but hopefully as the year progresses they can select a quiet place in the class to read.  We will also put a bin of books on each table.  If they finish their book they can read one from the bin but not get up and walk around to find a new one, hopefully this will reduce chaos.  The student who is the ‘Star of the Day’ will be able to read with our class book bear.
  3. One of my main goals is going to get the parents to read to their children daily.  I am going to use Trelease’s phamplets that he has available on his websites and send them home at different times throughout the year for the parents.  During September interviews I am going to stress the importance of reading to your child every night.  For the entire first term I am not going to have any homework sent home with my students.  Instead I am going to have families log time that they read-aloud together.  I have read aloud record sheet in their communication folder for parents to record ever time they read aloud with their child.  I found an awesome idea at theteacherswife to use dog tags and beads to track how much each child has read.  I really like this idea, and I could display these in the class using minimal space (wall space is a premium).  I have already started looking for dog tags.
  4. When choosing books to read-aloud I will now be looking at them in a different way.  In the past my primary concern was how the content connected to what we were learning or what I wanted to introduce to the class.  Starting at the beginning of the year my goal is to select books to hook my students and build their attentions.  Next we will work on building vocabulary and background knowledge.  Later in the year I hope to expand into longer picture books and short chapter books.  There is an excellent example of the progression on pages 58 an 59 of The Read-Aloud Handbook.
  5. As students are tracking their reading at home we are also going to track the books we read-aloud in class.  We will make a ‘book worm’ who will curl around our wall/door (haven’t figured out exactly where he will go yet) as a new circle will be added with the title of each book we read.
  6. Finally I would like to create a Newstand in our class to highlight magazines and newspapers as forms of reading.  To help build our collection and create variety I am going to invite families to send in their old/used copies of magazines and newspapers (appropriate ones of course).

I blogged about all this to share my thoughts but also to give myself a check in.  Every couple of months I intend to reflect on how our literacy program is running an I will share our successes and re-thinks.

I really enjoyed this book study, but now that I have spent most of the summer focusing on reading and my literacy program I am going to switch gears.  My next book is Christine Moynihan’s Math Sense as part of the book study hosted by Math Coaches Corner.  I love following her blog and seeing all the ideas she posts so I am looking forward to this book study.

Print Climate in the Home, School, and Library

Published August 4, 2013 by Mrs. Malo

At times it feels like Jim Trelease’s The Read-Aloud Handbook is repeating the same thing over and over again but I think that sometimes things need to be said many different ways, with many different stats for it to reach some people.  Chapter 6 really struck me in the differences between the ‘halfs’ and the ‘half-nots’.  I normally don’t like that phrase but it works many ways.  It is not just social economic status (however that is a big part of it) it is also about books, newspapers, magazines, libraries, and librarians.  If they are present achievement is higher than if they are not!

In my past life as a teacher-librarian read many articles, books and references on the impact of librarians and well stocked libraries.  It is nice to see many of these same stats it in a more popular and well read publication.  Trelease clearly sums up one such study on page 108:

A higher number of books per pupil and a full-time librarian meant an eleven-point advantage, and that a higher percentage of the student body visiting the library per week accounted for a twelve-point advantage.

There are many more studies just like this one with the same results, but I have seen first hand that it still doesn’t seem to make a difference in school programming and scheduling.

I loved that one section is titled: How many Books Should be in the Home Library?  I have a bit of an addiction to collecting children’s books.  This is a pet peeve of my husband who routinely says our kids have way too many books.  I think I may make him read this section of chapter 6.  I am still working on organizing and cataloguing all our books, I have barely started and have 220 cataloged.

Print in the home is a proven life changer worldwide.  Using data from seventy thousand families in twenty-seven nations, accumulated of multiple decades, researchers showed more books in the home led to a higher grade-leve completion rate.  (page 111)

Trelease has another great section where he comments on series books, often called ‘trash’ or ‘junk’ books.  I have never had a concern with this as a teacher or a teacher-librarian but I do love his quote:

Our job is to lead them eventually to the better books by reading aloud to them. (page 120)

Finally I just wanted to talk a bit about how this chapter is causing me to think about my own classroom.  I have a fair number of books in my classroom but I think I could do a better job organizing them and displaying them for the class.  I have three permanent sections: non-fiction, fiction, and concept (math, abc, etc).  In these three section the bins are labelled by theme (Clifford, bugs, colours, etc), but the books are not facing out.  In another shelf I rotate books that are relevant to current student interests or time of year and these are all facing out.  I am happy with both of these set-ups but think I need to take a bit more time specifically modelling how to use them with my  class.  After reading chapter 6 I want to create another section for other forms of reading: magazines & newspapers.  I am really interested in knowing how others use & display these types of media in their Kindergarten rooms.  In particular I would love to know what publications are put out.  Currently we get Chirp and Hightlights and I think I would like to get National Geographic Little Kids next year.  I am going to try and get copies of our local newspapers – weekly and daily but will have to make sure I check the content prior to putting them out.  I would love to hear what others are doing.