November 30, 2020

Benefits of Read Alouds in the Classroom

My only memory of 4th grade is listening to my teacher, Mrs Haker, read the Little House on the Prairie series to us every day after recess. This sacred time provided a feeling of calm following the chaos of recess in the '70s. I remembered wishing that she would just keep on reading all afternoon. Today, the time after lunch and recess is still marked by beloved read alouds in many elementary classrooms. The benefits of read alouds are worth every minute.

 

1. Read alouds expose students to many curriculum standards. 

A read aloud can be used to informally discuss genre, author's purpose, literary elements, and text structure, to name a few. Rather than teaching these skills in isolation or in the context of a reading book, students can experience these ideas outside of the literacy block. 

2. Read alouds promote the joy of reading. 

What is more endearing than hearing, "I found the same book you're reading to us!" from a student in the library. Often students will try to find the same book you are reading or books from the same author. During a read aloud, students can simply enjoy a story with no other required tasks. 

3. Listening skills are developed.

Students are listening and visualizing the story which is a skill that can transfer to independent reading. Sometimes, students may enjoy drawing what they visualize as you read. 

4. Read alouds help students form a common bond.

The read aloud is a whole class activity experienced by all students. The class will always have the memory of this time together. 

5. Fluency and expression are modeled.

As students learn to read, they need to hear what smooth, fluent reading sounds like. Fluency is important for comprehension. 

6. Read alouds spark curiousity.

When students listen to a story, they may discover a new interest. In addition, read alouds can be selected to introduce a concept in science, social studies, or other curriculum area. 

7. Students make connections.

Stories enable students to make connections to other books, to themselves, and to the world.

8. Read alouds can be used as a springboard for writing activities.

Craftivities with a theme around the read aloud are motivating to students. There are plenty of ideas worth a look on Pinterest or you could try these time saving resources:



Need some ideas for read alouds? Of course, it is recommended that you read the books first to make sure that they are appropriate for your students!


Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

Niagara Falls, or Does It?  by Henry Winkler and the rest of the Hank Zipser series

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Holes by Louis Sachar

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

The BFG by Roald Dahl


Looking to mix it up during read aloud time? Try:

  • Poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends or Falling Up
  • Joke books for kids
  • Picture books that are just silly and seasonal 
  • Picture books to introduce a new topic 

Why not squeeze in a few minutes after lunch for a quality read aloud? It just may be what your students remember about your class years from now!

*Please note: Fourth Grade Frenzy is not affiliated with any of these books. This post is informational only. 


November 9, 2020

5 Benefits of Craftivities


Crafting can be extended beyond learning the ABC's. When students make a craftivity, they are developing important skills that are in great need of attention.

1. Fine Motor Skills

Ask any middle-grade teacher who has been around for a while. In general, fine motor skills appear to be less developed than in previous years. Of course, there are students still rocking the eye-hand coordination, but many teachers have seen this trend. Craftivities include practice with cutting, positioning, and gluing. 

2. Following Directions

See above for similar trends. Following multi-step directions can be especially challenging for students. Craftivities have many steps that can be grouped into chunks of directions for students to follow. For example, "Cut out the leaf, and glue it on the tree branch." 

3. Chill Time

Many students relax their minds during craftivity time. Don't be surprised if a few even start humming quietly to themselves. Soft music playing in the background is a great option during craftivity time.

4. Motivation To Write

Whether the completed projects will be hung up in the hall or home on the fridge, students are usually asked to complete some sort of writing to go with their project. Students have a purpose for writing and craftivities can be an engaging option for reluctant writers. Motivation increases when students prepare their writing to go along with a display project. 

5. Pride And Acomplishment 

Students love to see their completed projects hung up on a bulletin board or out in the hall!


Click the pictures to view a few customer favorites!









Do you use craftivities with your class? Feel free to leave a comment about your experience!