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The Importance of Read Alouds!

The Importance of Read Alouds: Reading aloud has many benefits. Here are 15!

I am committed to reading aloud to my students daily. 

Not only is it my very favorite time of day, but there are so many benefits of reading aloud to kids.

Here are some advantages of reading aloud to children:

1. It's a shared literacy experience within the classroom community.
2. It's a great way to model important reading concepts like understanding characters, using inference skills, predicting, and more!
3. It's a great way to model phrasing and fluent reading.
4. Read Alouds are like an advertisement for books! Ever notice how the kids want to read a book right after you read it to them? Or perhaps another book in the series?
5. Read Alouds develop a child's vocabulary.
6. Shared books are a great way to model writing skills!
7. Shared books are a great way to spark discussion about sensitive subjects.
8. Children learn language patterns and figurative language through Read Alouds.
9. When you have multiple reading levels in your classroom (which most of us do!) it "evens the playing field."
10. Reading aloud helps build attention spans.
11. It's a chance to "think aloud" to model decoding new words using context clues.
12. It's a great opportunity to bring literature into other subjects like Science, Social Studies, Mathematics, and even Music, Art, and Phys. Ed!
13. Reading aloud encourages thinking and using imagination.
14. Reading aloud helps children learn about the world. Not just their own world, but other places, cultures, time periods, and even fictional worlds.
15. It's fun!

Want some more reasons to Read Aloud to students?  Here are a few references! (Click each image for a link to Amazon.)

             

What books do you like to read aloud to children?
What other advantages to reading aloud can you name?

Pass the Clap - A Fun Game!

Pass the Clap - A Fun Game! This is a game with many benefits in the classroom, and plenty of giggles, too!

A couple of years ago, I learned a fun circle game called "Pass the Clap". My kiddos really love it, and it's got many benefits!

1. It's a nice break from the regular routine.
2. It helps the children learn to work together.
3. It forces them to focus and concentrate on each other, and the game.
4. It's been known to create giggling children. 

If you don't believe this last one is a benefit, you'll have to read THIS post about how laughter is healthy!

So here's how to play:
To pass the clap, you must make eye contact with the "clap receiver", then clap.
That person passes the clap to the next person, and so on. 

There are a few varieties. We start simple.
1. Pass the clap, one by one, all the way around the circle.
2. Pass it around the circle, then reverse and bring the clap back to the starting point.

My students like to time how fast it takes for the clap to get around the circle. Then we time it again and see if we beat our previous time. (Which usually brings a celebration!)

A couple more variations:
3. Anyone can change the direction! This certainly livens things up!
4. The clap can be passed across the circle.

This last variation really requires focus and concentration, and plenty of team work! The children do rise for the occasion, and it's totally amazing!






Building Social Skills and Academics with Morning Meeting!

Build Social Skills and Academics with Morning Meeting: morning meetings have numerous benefits for children and classrooms, including building social skills, emotional skills, community, focus, and productivity.

I am so thrilled with my schedule this year! Last year my students had RTI first thing in the morning, so I was never able to spend mornings with them. They came in, dropped off their stuff, and ran off to their Tier 2 assigned groups. This made it tough to build relationships with my students, and build community within my group.

This year, the children stay in the classroom in the morning, and we are encouraged to start our day with Morning Meeting!

Most typical Morning Meetings have these parts:

1. Greeting
2. Sharing
3. Group Activity
4. Morning Message

There are many ways to do each part, and hundreds of references for ideas, but here are a couple: 

     
These images are all links to Amazon to learn more about these books.

Why do Morning Meeting?

Morning Meeting helps build social and emotional skills. It builds community and helps children learn to work as a team. It helps children develop a positive tone to their day, and affects their focus and productivity for the rest of the school day. Morning Meeting helps establish a climate of trust and motivates students to feel significant.

I did Morning Meetings ages ago (I'd estimate 20+ years!) but I haven't been able to do it recently, so it's like starting over. I'd love to hear what other teachers do during their morning meetings!
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