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Alternatives for reading around the class

Discussion in 'English' started by valeriejayne, Aug 19, 2019.

  1. valeriejayne

    valeriejayne New commenter

    I'd like to ask what people think about reading around the class. I have found that the children who are most keen on reading aloud are usually the least able and that the most able prefer the teacher to read. Reading to themselves is the most desirable outcome but often surprisingly hard to get people to do.

    If the text is difficult (e.g. Frankenstein) or requires a lot of feeling and emotion (e.g. Maggot Moon), what are your class strategies when you want to get children to engage with a text? Thanks.
  2. rachelsays

    rachelsays New commenter

    I think giving children an opportunity to read out loud and practise pronouncing words they wouldn't normally use in everyday conversation is so important, even if it is frustrating at times with those who find it more of a struggle. I get the kids to put their hands up if they want to read at the beginning of the lesson, and then I write their names down on the board in the order that they're going to read. They can read as little as they like or as much as they like, up to a maximum of a page and a minimum of three sentences. Having the minimum of three sentences means that even the reluctant readers will usually be willing to have a go. When they've read as much as they want to, they knock on the desk, and then the next person on the list takes over. This keeps things moving quickly with no disruptions to the flow of the story between readers, and it means we hear a variety of people reading, with everyone able to participate at a level that makes them feel comfortable.

    Engaging with the text is tricky. Normally with a harder text I'll pre-prepare the section and give them any vocabulary and pronunciations I think they'll need, and then we'll take it slowly and read small sections at a time, checking for understanding as we go. If they're really struggling then to be honest most of the time I just read it myself, as I find it's a better learning experience for them to hear it read fluently and accurately by me than hesitantly and often inaccurately by their peers.

    If it's an emotional text then I will model reading a section before I let them read, showing them how I want it read. If there's a lot of dialogue, sometimes I'll assign 'roles', so the same person is always reading a particular character, and someone else is the narrator, which can also help to bring it more alive. You could switch the roles on every page if you want to make sure lots of kids have a chance to read.

    Something else you could try is summarising the situation and doing a bit of Q&A on previous reading before starting to read again, and get the kids to think about how people are feeling at this point in the novel so that they can feel a bit more involved with how the characters' emotional lives might be about to develop in the next section of the text. So for example I might say something like 'in the chapter before this, you might remember that Ralph and Jack have had a huge argument, and both of them are feeling angry and confused. Why are they feeling this way? Who can remind us?' - we'll then discuss - and then I might ask them to predict how Ralph and Jack might interact with each other if they meet again in the next chapter, and what emotions they might be feeling during that interaction. Then when we start reading, they're already embedded in the world of the characters and have an idea about how they might speak to each other, which brings more emotion and realism to their reading.

    Hope that helps!
    blueskydreaming likes this.
  3. Corvuscorax

    Corvuscorax Senior commenter

    very short extracts each, say a childs name at random, they read 2-3 lines, say another child's name at random, they read 2-3 lines, etc.
    This way, everybody follows, everybody concentrates, everybody is ready to red next.
    roamingteacher likes this.
  4. valeriejayne

    valeriejayne New commenter

    Many thanks for this - very thoughtful and considered. Much appreciated.

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