Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Interactice Read-Aloud: Conversational Reading

Partner read alouds have potential to be so much more than round robin, back and forth reading. I have mostly witnessed partner reading where children sit side-by-side, and take turns reading alternate pages of the same story. This still holds value and worth in a child's literacy development, but when we think about the objectives of literacy stations and partner reading time, there is room for more!

Turn partner read aloud in a time for reading conversation!

This means the children sit facing each other: knee to knee. They continue reading in a pattern of their choice, but will engage in conversation before, during, and after the text. Children who have trouble finding the right moment to chime into the reading for conversation can predetermine a stopping point, where both readers will discuss personal connections, thoughts, text-to-text connections, predictions, reflections, or anything the text has triggered. When children are responding to the text in a meaningful way, like having a comfortable conversation with a peer, their comprehension is being engaged, and children are truly reading for meaning, to respond, and to share.

We want children to move from naming the words on a page to connecting with a text in a way that leaves an impact, a memory, and a response in a child. By fourth grade, children are required to read for knowledge, and comprehension becomes the most utmost important skill. Struggling readers many times have challenges in comprehending their texts, and a conversation can spark the reason, and provide the way for children to make meaningful and lasting connections with their texts.

Introducing partner reading as a time for conversation, reflection, and connection with a text and a partner allows children more opportunities to practice solidifying comprehension in an authentic and purposeful  manner.

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