First Grade Fairytales

I wanted to be an instructor my life. Fast ahead to the real job of teaching, and often times, we see children sitting down on the carpet for Story Time which sparkle and interest are dim. Not at all like in the idealistic pictures of my youth. Some full years ago, I was contacting my first graders to the carpet for a lesson using one of the best books.

I hear a collective “ugh” from many of my kiddos. Now, this wasn’t a groan I noticed very often, therefore I had to investigate. My first response was to believe the youngsters didn’t wish to accomplish the work. And I really got to thinking about it then. Why is it that each single time we, as teachers, bring a book out, it’s followed by an activity, a test, or some other assignment?

When did we stop JUST READING to your kids? I realized that we now have children that view books and stories negatively because there was always “work” mounted on it. There is a capture always! Many children had never had the opportunity to listen to and immerse themselves in a story just. I was made by it sad, and I knew that as much as I loved my teachers reading to me as a kid, I wanted to pass that along. I know with all of the standards we must show, and the press to keep up the integrity of our instructional time that people are left with very little “extra” time.

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I also know that we now have those who think that read alouds with no task are the waste materials of time, or “fluff” as I used to be once told. How can teaching children the love of reading and books is fluff or a waste of time? Something special. Not just love the thought of that?

With each tale to read, you are giving a present to your students. That idea just makes me happy. Now, do not get me wrong, I’m an enormous proponent of incorporating literature into all areas of my teaching and into all subject areas. A lot of the books in my own classroom collection are linked with a lesson that I’ll teach sooner or later, and all those lessons involve a task or assignment for my kids. Close Reading is among the best things I have done in my own classroom, and I am a huge supporter of teaching kids to THINK about text; however, I believe we need to find some balance, too.

I read this quotation by the beautiful Mem Fox, as she was discussing speaking to parents about reading. She said “AFTER I tell a mother or father ‘read to a child’, I don’t want it to sound like medicine, I want it to sound like chocolate”. I want that too.


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