Interactive Read Aloud

Alexis Czeterko
This week at the Teachers College Reading Institute I've had a School Leaders Group Session with Alexis Czerterko, staff developer for upper grades for TCRWP each day of the week.

Alexis has really pushed my thinking about things I thought I already knew how to do.  Some of those things I will share here on this blog and others I will share on my personal blog after I have had a chance to do the activities with you (Chets Creek Elementary School teachers) in person! 

One interesting thing about these sessions with Alexis each day is that we took the role of students in a Readers' Workshop.  Do you know how hard that is to do?  Let me tell you, as she goes conferring around the room your heartbeat starts going a little faster thinking, "Is she going to ask me a question?  Aaaccckkk!  What if I don't know the answer?"  You may be laughing but really it made me think about how students feel when they know they are going to be talking with a teacher about something they are not sure about.  So I guess what that taught me is I have confidence in my reading, but I don't have confidence that I am thinking deeply enough about my reading.  So what do I need to work on?  Because if I am not living my life as a growing reader than how can I teach my readers to grow?  More about that later...

The first important thing to do with an interactive read aloud is to choose a book carefully that aligns to the unit of study you are working on and the teaching points in that unit.  When Alexis modeled the interactive read aloud during our "Readers' Workshop" she had prepared the book ahead of time with sticky notes all through it to remind herself as a teacher the times she wanted to stop and model or help the readers draw meaning from envisioning, inferring and synthesizing.  You are to give kids
Interactive Read Aloud
an image of what proficient reading looks like.  She began by saying,"Look at the cover and get your mind ready".  Then she referenced a word bank that she had put on the document camera of words from the book we would encounter.  The word bank was separated by just new vocabulary and content vocabulary. She instructed, "Talk with your partner about words you don't reecognize."  After reading the first page in the book she walked the book over to the document camera and showed that first page and said, "Talk with your partner about words you see that were in the word bank.  When she did stop and model she gave us many opportunities to turn and talk.  If you don't prepare deliberately what you are going to talk about it would be hard to be focused about what the kids are learning from your modeling.  An example of this would be Teacher: "Given what just happened, I think the character is feeling and thinking " Then she would read a little more and stop and say: "Turn and tell your partner what the character is probably feeling now about this?  During turn and talk she circulated the room.  Her goal being for the kids to "grow" their thinking from the previous part.  After a few of the models that she did she stopped and pointed out implicitly her teaching point, "Did you see how I grew my ideas of the main character as we went along?

I loved hearing more about interactive read alouds.  I know that from now on I will prepare my teaching points more carefully and not be afraid to cover the book in sticky notes!  Even though I was comprehending the book just fine as a student the turn and talk points made me think deeper about the characters and text.  An essential as we prepare to ramp our kids up faster!

Cross posted on LIVE from the Creek


Chad said...

This is gorgeous!