So before August rolls around to signal my personal start of the new school year (even though I'm not formally obligated until August 18), I wanted to share some reading ideas and information I've come across recently.
One article concerns read alouds and building community. Community is very important in elementary schools as we address creating a safe, risk-free environment where every individual is respected and valued. Mary Lee Hahn http://www.choiceliteracy.com/public/789print.cfm
shares eight read aloud titles to help develop community and classroom connections. She then offers some good tips on expanding these titles to develop reading strategies of summerization, inference, and theme --a great two for one idea!!
Kevin Henkes has several school-related titles that work well for read alouds during the first week of school. One of my personal favorites is Chrysanthemum where the students make fun of a girl's name because it is so long and unusual. And don't forget Wemberly Worried where a young girl worries about everything including if she will have friends at school. And then I love to read Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse where Lilly's once-beloved teacher takes away her prized possession before she gets to share it at show & tell. Here is a link to Teaching Heart with ideas to utilize these titles in elementary classrooms http://www.teachingheart.net/kevinhideas.html
Read alouds are beneficial to students in elementary and on up all through the year. Shari Frost http://www.choiceliteracy.com/public/403print.cfm shares an article on read alouds to start off the year for several age groups. Take a look at the section of the article where she offers suggestions for selecting titles to read at the beginning of the school year emphasizing the often overlooked genre of poetry. Looking at older students, this article from The Reading Zone http://thereadingzone.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/nuts-and-bolts-of-the-read-aloud-in-my-middle-school-classroom/ addresses the use of read alouds in the middle grades with some great suggestions for titles and some additional links.
If you would like readers other than yourself or have a roomful of visual learners, you may consider using sites such as Storyline Online http://www.storylineonline.net/ from the Screen Actors Guild Foundation. For animated books, you might consider a subscription to TumbleBooks http://www.tumblebooks.com/ where you can access a Free Trial. And you might be interested in these titles featured on YouTube http://thebookchook.blogspot.com/2009/07/use-you-tube-to-encourage-reading.html
And lastly, I want to remind you of the use of Readers Theater in the classroom. Readers Theater (RT) is a great way to build reading fluency as students practice their parts to include dramatization but it does not require backdrops, props, and movement on a stage as would be required for a play. Aaron Shepard http://www.aaronshep.com/rt/RTE.html offers free scripts online as does The Reading Lady http://bit.ly/2VssL If you have never utilized RT, please check Mandy Gregory's site http://www.mandygregory.com/readers_theater.htm for a great detailed RT lesson plan and other sites that offer free scripts.
If you are not ready to commit to RT, at least check out the titles in Mary Ann Hoberman's You Read to Me, I'll Read to You series. In addition to choral reading experiences, this educator's guide pdf http://bit.ly/PIAso from the Hachette Book Group provides several language and cross curriculum ideas to incorporate these books into your classroom.
This is just a fraction of the wonderful reading ideas and articles available online. It would be great to hear about your favorite reading sites and how you plan to roll into the new school year!