I vividly remember sitting in my grade 5 class, listening to my geography teacher reading stories from the Kinderensiklopedie during the last five or ten minutes of the day. I remember being transported to other countries and times. I remember the soothing voice of the huge man and for a couple of minutes, I could just relax and listen. Nobody was expecting me to perform or learn something new. Little did I know, my geography teacher was actually using his superpower to allow me to learn without being even aware of it.
Many years later, I discovered that I too have this superpower. Often I would reach for a book when I saw that the learners in my classroom needed to “take a break” from all that school expected from them. I carefully selected the right book at the right time for the right class. I chose wisely because I knew that just as strong as this power is, had I used it incorrectly, the risk would be bored learners and me possibly losing this power.
Reading aloud to children in your classroom or at home not only opens worlds that the child may never visit, but it also has the power to open hearts and humanize those who are often dehumanized. As most of us know, reading aloud builds vocabulary, which is particularly important in a time where learners have poor comprehension skills due to, amongst other things, a lack of vocabulary. Reading aloud allows you to model reading strategies. You can demonstrate how to think critically and how you monitor your own understanding and sometimes reread when you don’t understand. You can ask questions, share your thoughts, and make connections between this story and other texts. You make reading visible, almost tangible to the listener.
It is however not always necessary to model reading strategies. Sometimes one can only read aloud and let one’s superpower do the rest, because everybody loves being transported by a good story!
Blog by Ms Amanda Anker