“Why is reading important?”
This question was once asked to Tomie dePaola, a children’s author. He replied: Reading is important, because if you can read, you can learn anything about everything, and everything about anything”.
Well, if reading is that important, why not add some fun to it with your students?
Whenever you start a reading activities with your students, use a chart or graphic organizer. It helps you drag focus on important events and sequencing of the story!
All teachers would definitely agree that reading is not just limited to text. Reading pictures, art pieces, facial expressions, numbers, shapes and patterns are also important pieces that should be included to the reading process.
Reading meaningfully adds more life to the whole process of reading. One of my favorite reading strategies to use with my students is associated with BDA (Before-During-After).
There is also another method which is extremely loved by kids before reading a book: The Preview and Predict strategy. It is one thing we surely do before we start a read aloud session.
Preview and Predict
- A book to read aloud.
- A bag (to hide the book inside).
- Lots of excitement!
We usually have a comfortable seating area as well as a designated time for the read aloud session.
Kids are always super excited to know what book we would be reading, and we start with a “before” reading strategy P&P.
I enter with my book in the bag, then I ask them some questions with obvious answers. For instance: How does the book looks like? Is it big or small? Do you think it’s thick or thin?
They guess through what they see, and predict the facts. I slowly take out the book just for a glance and try to build the excitement.
Gradually, they are shown only the cover page. They read the book’s name and carefully notice the illustration as well. The kids then start to predict by raising a quite hand, when asked questions like:
- Predict what you think the story might be about just by looking at the cover illustration and the title of the book.
- Predict who would be the main character in this story
- Predict what your friend is thinking about by looking at the illustration.
The child comes up with different predictions, sometimes funny, factual and sometimes truly amazing. It depends on their perception about the illustrations and the title.
I keep these activities limited because providing kids some authentic reading and listening time during read aloud is a priority. Too many BDA strategies would kill the reading fun, and purpose.
Beginning – Middle – End
We always use a chart or graphic organizer when we start a reading activity.
The chart is a big plain laminated sheet with three horizontal parts. These parts are with respective titles which are: Beginning – Middle – End.
The kids get to highlight the important events in the beginning – middle – end of the story, while reading.
Once we come towards the middle of the story, kids are asked to share three or four important things or some important events that they noticed and highlighted while reading.
They only write important statement on the chart as well. Similarly when we move towards the end, kids talk and write about what happened in the middle of the story.
Once the story comes to end, kids repeat it one more time. One of the children reads all three parts from the chart once reading is done.
It sounds very much like the summary of the story. This activity is actually very helpful to drag the focus on important events and sequencing.
Another activity at “Fun Hammer school” was adapted from a school where they used it during a “Read Aloud” session.
We make a booklet wherein we encourage them to wonder and question.
Step1. Comprehend! Do I understand?
This step helps them to realize whether they’ve understood the content of the book or not.
Step2. Sing the Song “Wonder wonder when you read, it will help you so! Readers ask a lot of questions, as their stories go!”
This step helps the kids understand that it is ok to ask relevant questions and make real life connections while reading. It can be done by singing the song with them!
Step3. Give them the wonders….
- I wonder who…..
- I wonder what….
- I wonder where….
- I wonder why
- I wonder if….
- I wonder how….
Step4. What do I do after I wonder?
This step allows them to understand that there is a step we need to take ahead once we wonder about the story. We need to understand and explain why I wonder by saying BECAUSE…….
I am sure these strategies would help in classrooms and libraries to make the sessions a little more interesting for kids. My students really do enjoy practicing them!
These methods surely improve their reading and comprehending skills and the fun element keeps them active readers.Let us raise readers who truly love and enjoy reading!
Crédits photo : © Pixabay