After a meh year, when you're trying to completely reinvent yourself, there is this notion that scrapping everything and starting from scratch will be the only solution. I do know that I want a major overhaul. Things have got to change! I schedule a little over 90 minutes of English Language Arts instruction daily. It sounds like it should be enough. It never is. Maybe you're wondering how I spend the time. There is always a read aloud that happens. At first, this is on my insistence but as the year goes on, the readers in my class wouldn't tolerate a single day without the read aloud. The books I read aloud are precious and I work hard to use each day as an opportunity to address the standards. Everything can be taught using this common text. We point out figurative language and discuss the author's word choice. Lessons on tone, mood, and character development, as well as the development of theme happen in the context of the read aloud. It can't go.
Plus. It is magic.
There is something about a read aloud that transports my students from our classroom to some other place and some other time. When the book is a good one (and it always is), there simply are no behavior problems. Instead, the kids sit around me on the floor as if I've cast a spell and there are always groans when the time comes to a close. There are days I don't want it to end either!
With so much content to teach, I think we always have to justify how we spend our time in the classroom. So here is my list of reasons to hold onto the read aloud:
Seems like the read aloud should stay.
What will I be reading aloud this year you wonder? Well, I'm wondering too. Here is a list of strong possibilities.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone J.K. Rowling
The Lemonade War Jacqueline Davies
Charlotte's Web E.B. White
Ribsy Beverly Cleary
Because of Winn Dixie Kate DiCamilo
Matilda Roald Dahl
The Tale of Despereaux Kate DiCamilo
Tuck Everlasting Natalie Babbitt
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball Kadir Nelson
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets J.K. Rowling
Maybe there is a book missing from my list that is a MUST read for fourth graders and you're sort of miffed that I've missed such an important book. Consider contacting me. I'd love to put together the perfect list of must reads for fourth graders. To quote one of my favorite math heroes, "All of us are smarter than one of us" - Graham Fletcher