by Guest Bloggers JoEllen McCarthy and Erica Pecorale, Literacy for All Conference Speakers
Every time they are read to.
Read alouds matter. They create opportunities for a vibrant tapestry of rich classroom discussions. They provide pathways to broader thinking and reflection about the world. The empirical research about the benefits of read aloud is abundant, but there is “heart evidence” too. Books touch our students’ hearts and minds.
Read alouds open up opportunities for gaining new perspectives or different appreciations in ways that only beautiful literature can. Teachers read aloud… because…“Strong young minds continue to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who send their books out into the world like ships on the sea. Books give a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.” (Matilda by Roald Dahl)
In a fast-paced world where events, images and media are constantly sending messages, our students need opportunities to deconstruct their thinking. The choices we make about the texts we share with our students, convey big messages, strengthen relationships, and promote a greater understanding for ourselves, develop compassion for others and appreciate the diversity of our world.
Teachers understand that the precious gift of read aloud is something we must do just because…of all it offers. Stories must be savored. It goes beyond the teaching of literacy. It is about teaching the hearts, minds and hands of all students. Because our time allotted for read aloud needs to provide examples of rich diverse literature.
We need literature that empowers students through responsive teaching that imparts knowledge, skills and attitudes (Gloria Ladson Billings). Literacy and life lessons are about knowing, feeling, and doing work that matters.
Because they promote empathy, like in Lend a Hand, John Frank and London Ladd’s book of poetry celebrating acts of kindness.
Because they encourage creativity and inquiry, like in The Wonder, Faye Hanson, wondering about the world, with joy and love and imagination for what it possible.
Because they make us think differently, in Yamada’s companion to What Do You Do with an Idea, exploring problems as opportunities.
Because they spread love, like in J.J. Austrian and Mike Curato’s Worm Loves Worm. Because “Love is art. Love is education. Love is accountability. And it needs repeating. Love is love is love.” – Brendan Kiely
Because they take us to new places, where we can deepen our understanding about the world. Like in Susan Verde and Peter Reynold’s Water Princess we thirst for a future where everyone has access to basic human needs.
Because awareness and mindfulness call us to action. In Kids Who Are Changing the World, by Anne Jankeliowitch, real issues, inspire real children to pursue their passions and solve problems, while helping others.
Because they change perspectives and priorities. Like in Yard Sale, by Eve Bunting and Lauren Castillo, where readers discover that the best things in life aren’t things.
Because they show us how to be human. In If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson, we are reminded that the way we react to new situations can have strong implications. The choice is ours.
Read aloud to all students…just because…
“Books can often show us who we are and how we, the people of the world, regardless of race, color, or creed, are all connected at the core of humanity. ” –Marva Allen
Join JoEllen McCarthy and Erica Pecorale to explore more books and life lessons for talking, reading, writing, and reflecting on the diverse world we live in at the Literacy for All Conference Monday, October 24, 2016 from 1:30-3:00. Their session is entitled, Literacy and Life Lessons (Grades 3-6).
#AlwaysLearning, JoEllen McCarthy, is a lead learner and staff developer who spends her days working collaboratively in schools and districts to support best instructional practices, co-teaching, planning, coaching and supporting the curriculum of children.
As the Educator Collaborative’s Book Ambassador, JoEllen spreads a love and enthusiasm for learning and the role books plays in all aspects of education.
Erica Pecorale is the Director of Teacher Education and an associate professor at Long Island University, Riverhead. In addition to her work in preparing future teacher candidates for their educational endeavors, she continues to provide professional development support to teachers, administrators, parents and students in K-8 school settings.