Teaching reading to elementary school children using children's literature is powerful and rewarding. It sets the stage for reading experiences to be enjoyable and meaningful. I have always told my students that a good book will "make us smarter and nicer people". Teaching children to read starts with book choice
1. Children's literature is authored by people that have a passion for stories. Anthropologists always knew that storytelling is a universal feature of every country and every culture. People tell stories! Telling stories plays a vital role in our socialization. Being passionate creates rich experiences. 2. Reading literature cultivates the imagination.
Imagination leads to creativity. Creativity leads to thinking. Thinking grows the mind. 3. Writing and talking about literature and stories provides opportunities to work with words and language and become more skilled in communication.
4. Reading the many genre in children's literature helps students to compare and contrast different books and formats. Practice in analyzing the different books helps children to question, to notice details and to make sense of the author's story and message. Children as young as preschool can make evaluations, predictions and connections when engaged with good books at school.
Children's book authors present characters in real-life situations as well as the make-believe world.
5. Story characters allow us to "try on their shoes" and feel. Empathy for characters found in plots that are not black and white evolves when we talk about these book characters. Is it okay when Marty lies? Is it okay when Marty kidnaps Shiloh from his rightful owner? The many, many book characters can show us the way of 'who we want to be' and 'what kind of character' we would like to become.
6. Understanding of story characters and story events may be the goal in reading. Books can change us. Books can touch our hearts. Books can teach us. Real books by real authors for real children. So many reading programs do not have these real authors' stories within their covers. Authors usually do not sell their stories in this format because their works stand alone. Even small children can tell the difference; and the reading teacher knows this too. It is evident in the listening and the expression on the children's faces they see Big Al caught up in the net!
7. Teaching with children's literature can engage students in a better way than the standard program approach. Literature circles and student book choice empowers students in their own reading. Students feel valued and respected. This leads to independence in their reading and promotes life-long reading.
8. Talking about books and sharing perspectives about their reading becomes contagious. and then, one book leads to another... During a read aloud once, one of my 3rd graders said as he pulled his chair close to mine for this especially favorite part of our day, he said, "Mrs. Quimby, this book is better than a movie!' and it was, the book was, Where the Red Fern Grows. And that very same book made us cry! All of us... 24 third graders and their teacher! a true author can make the emotion and sometimes nothing has to be said or written; as you just know and feel.
9. Literature can show us the many cultures and ways of people in different parts of the world. We can travel the world without leaving our home or classroom.
10. Children find reading is fun! It is entertaining and it is a worthwhile activity! When children find reading fun, they tend to do it more... and when they engage in reading more often, their reading achievement improves!
So my goal this summer is to extend some great books to teachers who would like to build their classroom libraries. I have many, many books to share...
You can join in... Buy 5 books for $5. and Get 5 FREE... I will be listing new ones all summer but all good things come to an end...so don't miss out... grab some books for your classroom library... picture books, chapter books...grades PreK - 5. Find them HERE