When teachers read aloud, they demonstrate ways of responding to literature, broaden students' reading interests, and build appreciation of the language and sounds of literature. Reading aloud is valuable at any grade level.
Classroom Reading Time
Students need to be given time for reading books of their own choice in school. Students have an opportunity to develop an appreciation of reading when teachers set aside class time for them to choose books and to read silently.
Teacher-Led Whole Class Reading and Discussion
Discussing books on a whole-class basis enables the teacher to provide models for appropriate questions and to make sure the important aspects of the book are explored. Whole class discussions also enable less able readers to participate in the discussion of a book that is above their reading level.
Student-Led Small Group Reading and Discussion
After the primary grades, discussing books in small groups gives students increased opportunity to share impressions and ideas and to ask questions in a more personal setting than a whole class discussion. When thc teacher establishes clear guidelines and goals for the discussion, students learn to listen to and learn from each other. Structuring readling in smal1 groups may also allow students more choice in what they read and discuss wilh others.
Memorizing poetry, speeches, or dialogue from plays can engage students in listening closely to the sounds and rhythmic sequences of words. Young children delight in making a poem their own by committing it to memory. Because memorization and recitation or performance require repeated readings of a poem or speech, these techniques help students find layers of meaning that they might not discover in a single reading.
When students plan and dramatize scenes from a story, they are translating one genre or form into another. Through dialogue and movement, they show their interpretation of literary elements such as plot, character motivation, conflict, and tone without using the abstract vocabulary of literary analysis to communicate their insights. Clear criteria for performance help students focus on elements such as pacing, volume, use of gestures, and expressiveness.
Response through the Arts
Projects that combine reading and writing with art or music can help many students concentrate on the meaning of what they read. Drawing on individua1 interests and talents, group projects enable students to demonstrate their collective interpretation of a text and engage their classmates in discussion and analysis.
Using Schoolwide and Community Resources
The school library/media center and the classroom library are essential resources in developing a strong and varied literature curriculum. Library teachers can work with classroom teachers in selecting instructional materials to support literature study through a variety of approaches. These materials include print and non-print media such as film, photographs, painting, music, CD-ROMs, and computer software. Classroom and library teachers also collaborate with public librarians to ensure that students can make good use of larger public collections and varied resources. Another excellent use of community resources is the practice of inviting authors, illustrators, actors, and directors into the classroom to share the process of composing and presenting literary works.
Massachusetts English Language Arts Curriculum Framework
November, 2000, Page 6