Indiana Reading Journal Volume 44 Issue 1 - Page 57

we read for pleasure, to develop background knowledge, and to understand who we are. We do it to explore ideas and beliefs, to connect and engage with others, and to solve problems (p. 5). She mentions we read to learn, we read for pleasure, and to live vicariously through others (p. 4). It is so much more than achieving benchmarks. It is what leads us toward our hopes, our dreams, and our future.

Peace at Last

After a few weeks of using best practices along with meaningful literature, I contend that you will begin to experience both added enthusiasm and peace about what you are doing. You’ll have a sense of freedom in regards to instruction, especially after you have shared what you know about the research and about what you are doing in your classroom. Your students will now understand why read aloud is important, your colleagues are now hearing about your successes, and your administrators have been made aware of the research relating to the benefits it has to test results. (Trelease page ). By this time, you will feel brave enough to implement your plan for writing skills, and will discover that read aloud also has strong tie-ins to those standards as well. As you reap the positive benefits that your hard work and commitment to the process is now gleaning, that sense of powerlessness over your instructional tactics will have begun to dissolve. You will instead feel the true joy of being a patriot for your students, a patriot for fellow teachers, and a patriot for a positive future in reading aloud.

Conclusion: Read-Aloud’s History and Future:

For years, read-aloud has been like the pledge of allegiance to the flag. For generations, it has been a time honored tradition across the nation, both at home and at school. It has drawn people together and helped us understand who we are as a nation along with who we shall evolve to become in our future. Reading aloud is a natural part of learning to read. From sitting on the laps of members of a generation before us, to huddling on the floor around a teacher holding the treasure as she or he shared it, valuable learning about reading occurred.

Reading aloud has such value! In my mind, we have all taken much away from this time-honored practice, long before we knew the research. Historically, I point back to the times when families gathered together to hear news reports and stories read aloud on the radio, and I am reminded again that the act of being read aloud to has held us together as a culture for centuries. I think of real soldiers, like my father, who happily read aloud letters from his family to his brothers in arms, and they in turn read theirs aloud as well. I can visualize how these acts of read-aloud drew them together, providing a connection with a better world...in the case of those soldiers, the world they left back home. I feel it is my duty to pass this on, not only because of its social value, not only because I know there is research to support its educational value, but I because I see how it has sustained generations before us. I hope that you too, are ready to launch a strong effort in defense of your read aloud time this school year, and into the future.

I resolve to remain a reading patriot, as I now am reading aloud in the college setting to up-and-coming teacher candidates. Even as I’m on a slightly-altered career path than in the past, my passion for literacy (especially read-aloud), has strengthened. As I experience learning and teaching literacy to my college practicum students, I have noticed many of them have been denied the opportunity to understand the importance of read-aloud, because they were part of the well-intended, yet harmful effects of test-taking via NCBL. If I don’t read aloud to them, how can I demonstrate the power of words? How else could I so easily I bond with them? How else can I get them to see the true power of the read-aloud? Where will they find out about the true joy of using this form of powerful instruction?

Oh…and yes…of course I’ll be sharing Steven Layne’s In Defense of Read Aloud with them as well! Here’s hoping your future is one enriched by quality read-aloud time as well.

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