Actually, I read aloud to my fifth graders as well as my little ones. It’s just as enjoyable and I still dramatize my reading for them. I’m getting a new group of kids hooked on The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo in the unit I’m teaching on fairy tales for summer camp. My fifth graders absolutely loved the story when I read it to them last year.
Everyday I start my class, consisting of a group of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders, with a morning meeting that ends with me reading a fairy tale that relates to our group activity for that day. For example, yesterday I read Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky to introduce our math project of purchasing materials to make necklaces for Rumpelstiltskin’s Jewelry Store (estimation, money, multiplication, measuring, and patterning).
The kids noted the medal (a Caldecott honor) on the cover and how The Tale of Despereaux had a medal (a Newbery medal) as well so I got the opportunity to tell them about the Newbery Award (for the best children’s literature) and the Caldecott Award (for the best picture books). They pointed out the fairy tale (and folktale) books on the bookshelf which had Caldecott medals (or honors), including books by Steven Kellogg, James Marshall’s fairy tales (we’ll be watching a video of his books in animation for tomorrow’s group activity), Jan Brett, and the number of Paul O. Zelinsky books I have put on the shelves for our literary skills focus as well as for free reading. Today to introduce our group activity for the summer camp class - making gingerbread houses - I read the version of Hansel and Gretel illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky. I particularly enjoyed making the witch’s voice as I read.
My fifth graders are well acquainted with the Newbery medal and I held a challenge for them to read, as a group, 30 Newbery books…too easy of a task for them, once they believed they had the ability to read books that tried their reading skills. As a reward for their reading, I got them magnetic bookmarks (featuring Jimmy Liao’s artwork) so they would never have to feel the urge to dogear a book again. From the youngest kids up to the oldest ones, I teach them how to respect and care for books so that they will last for a long time. I also like to tell them how much I like the books I see them reading if I have read it myself. They would sometimes come to me for suggestions on a book when we had library. As a present at the end of the year, I bought each one of them a Newbery-winning book based on their interests. For the girl who had read the largest number of Newbery books, in addition to her present, I bought her a copy of The Tale of Despereaux. Needless to say, the other kids all wanted to see her book.
Another part of my job that I really enjoy is introducing quality literature to children and then seeing them blossom in their reading skills by connecting with the books that interest them.
But I fear I am getting :offtopic: preaching the importance and joy of reading aloud to kids of all ages.