Tag Archives: Read Aloud

Poem A Day Challenge

I was recently inspired by an image on Twitter when someone shared their classroom bulletin board for #ABookADayChallenge. The image showed 180 Polaroid Photos turned backwards, each numbered along a grid to be turned over with an image of the picture book shared every new day of school. I thought, how cool to read aloud picture book everyday of school and share the joy of reading and books with students.

The #BookADayChallenge started back in 2009 by author Donnalyn Miller as a public declaration of to the commitment to read one a book a day for every day of summer and now it has morphed into a school year challenge.

Thinking of my own middle school students, I thought what are other ways that I can read aloud short sections of text (four periods a day) daily to my students to participate in the Challenge and share great books. I thought about picture books and whether my students would feel as if I was reading down to them with picture books. Yes, I know that picture books are written for all ages and I have read many picture books aloud to my students over the years with no quarrels. My thoughts extended to poetry. What if I read aloud a poem everyday of school to my students to jumpstart class, celebrate words, begin a discussion, and make connections.

Newbury award winner and poet, Kwame Alexander says, “The power of poetry is that you can take these emotionally heavy moments in our lives, and you can distill them into these palatable, these digestible words and lines and phrases that allow us to be able to deal and cope with the world.”

And so begins a new school year with #APoemADayChallenge. The read aloud will be a bell ringer and appetizer for the classroom activities for that day. The plan is to choose poems that connect with our inquiry units and build community.

Here are the poems planned for the first week of school:

Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins

A Journey by Nikki Giovanni

The Sweetest of Nights and the Finest of Days by Judith Viorst

Smart by Shel Silverstein

Additional Poems to be included this month:

So you Want To be A Writer? by Charles Bukowski

How to Write the Great American Indian Novel by Sherman Alexie

It is Dangerous to Read Newspapers by Margaret Atwood

My First Memory (of Librarians) by Nikki Giovanni

Hanging Fire by Audre Lorde

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10 Picture Books that Celebrate Creativity, Invention & Genius

Okay, I will admit that I am a picture book junkie. Even as my own children outgrow picture books and move into chapter books, I still collect picture books to share with my students as well as read with my own kids. Picture books are glorious short stories with inspiring pictures that speak about big ideas in a limited amount of words.

Previously, I have written blog posts on the power of picture books to inspire students of all ages.  I have found so many new great titles that I will be sharing with my middle school students for read alouds, genius hour, and just for fun.













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The Power of the Read Aloud

Reading aloud should not end in elementary school.  In fact, reading aloud has many benefits.  In a guest blog post for the Nerdy Book Club titled, How to turn your classroom into a hotbed of enthusiastic readers, Megan Ginther and Holly Mueller wrote:

“Read aloud EVERY DAY.  It builds a reading community (and vocabulary, fluency, and a sense of story) and provides touchstone texts.  Reading aloud creates a bonding experience and time to be together in another world.  It provides numerous opportunities to model good writing and teach reading strategies.   And it’s fun!”

Read alouds enable the teacher to stop and talk to students about the process and ideas about reading. During the read aloud, a teacher reads aloud to students in order to model and demonstrate strategies that characterize proficient reading.  The read aloud is also a time when students receive instruction that helps them talk well about books.  Thus, in addition to modeling the work of proficient, fluent, and engaged readers during the read aloud time, the teacher also teaches students how to have accountable conversations about books.

Here is some examples of dialogue a teacher can use to help model for students active reading and support students’ understanding of the text.

“Be ready to listen, think, and write.”

“Can you picture that.”

“Add that to your picture.”

“Think about how that would feel.”

“Think about how you would feel in that situation.”

“Turn and talk to the person next to you about . . . ”

“Stop and jot in your reading journal what this character is thinking.”

“Why do you think . . .”

“What is going on there?”

“Do you know why . . .”

“Stop and write what you are thinking now.”

“As we move forward, one thing I want you to take notice is . . .”

“As we get to the next page, think about . . .”

“What is this book really about?” — Turn and talk to the person next to you.

“Catch up with a partner what happened in the story and share two new things you learned about . . .”

When teachers are reading aloud we want students to pay attention to the words, make connections, visualize, infer what the author is not saying, ask questions, make predictions, build vocabulary, and draw conclusions.  Reading aloud help model for our students these reading habits so they can apply them when they are reading independently.

A few of my favorite read aloud books:

Social Studies Themes –

Social Studies based Read Alouds

Social Studies based Read Alouds

Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles

The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman

21 Elephants by Phil Bildner

Childtimes by Eloise Greenfield and Lessie Jones Little

The Bat Boy & His Violin by Gavin Curtis

Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell




The Love of Words & Books –

Books that promote the love of reading and words

Books that promote the love of reading and words

The Fantastic Flying Book of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

Sparkle and Spin by Ann & Paul Rand

Exploding Ants by Joanne Settel

Books Speak! by Laura Purdie Salas

Wonderful Words edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins

The Boy Who Loved Words by Roni Schotter

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