Tuesday, January 17, 2006

"The Bear" Read Aloud

Yesterday I did my read aloud for my group and I have to admit at first I felt a little stupid reading a book to my friends the way I read to children with inflection in my voice and different tones and so on. Nevertheless I went ahead (despite afew management problems, ha, ha) and it started to feel alot more natural. It really doesn't matter how old you are, people just enjoy being read to. I know I do when Cathy reads the Giver every class. It's really nice just to put your head down and listen to someone tell a good story.

This exercise also made me realize that reading a book aloud is a skill. Sure anyone who can read can pick up a book and read what is written to a group of children, but it takes a certain skill to use changes in your voice, pacing to bring anticipation and suspense, movement of the book, facial expressions, and so on to really tell a story and get the audience involved.

The book I chose for my read aloud is called "The Bear" by John Schoenherr which is a beautifully illustrated narrative non-fiction account of a young bear doing his best to survive on his own in the harsh wilderness once his mother left. It appealed to me personally for the amazing watercolour illustrations of the bear and the stark northern landscape as well as the real-life survival story, and I really think it is important to include a collection of non-fiction in the classroom as Cathy said they appeal more to boys and of course we want to have books that are interesting to all children. Yet I think most classes focus much more on fiction books. We need to make sure we have a balance.


At 1:27 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

Hi Curt, thanks for your comments about the process of reading aloud. I agree, it does require some skill, and the more skill we develop, the more we may be able to "hook" kids into exploring different genres of children's literature.

I love your book choice; an excellent book, well worth reading, and a very good example of narrative non fiction. I agree with your analysis of drawing in many children to reading and that including non fiction examples is an important way of doing so. I think narrative non fiction is excellent from this perspective... it blends the familiarity of narrative structures with non fiction topics of interest to children.


At 9:54 PM, Blogger Curt said...

Thanks for commenting Cathy. I definitely agree that narrative non-fiction is a great bridge between fiction and non fiction books and may even draw in some children who might otherwise not be interested in reading a non-fiction book. I know some kids find books about real life a little boring and might need the familiar narrative structure to hook them. Is narrative non-fiction a fairly recent genre? I don't really remember too many examples from it growing up. Books were fiction or non-fiction, nothing in between.

At 3:40 PM, Blogger Cathy said...

Hi Again curt, yes, in thinking about your question, i think it is a relatively new genre of writing, but one that does create an effective "bridge" as you note.

Good observations,



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