A Read-Aloud coordinator works with each school administration and teachers to organize the reading program. Teachers, K through 2nd grade, select children for one-on-one reading experiences. The coordinator supports the readers and helps build connections between the child and reader. Research clearly demonstrates that relationships matter for all of us but particularly for young children.
Books to match students interests
The coordinator at each school organizes a Read-Aloud library of books. We try to maintain a wide variety of English and bilingual books. We give a varied choice of materials covering many learning areas at various comprehension levels. These include picture books, science and nature, story books, fairy tales, poetry and rhymes, chapter books and learning-to-read books.
Each week the coordinator selects books to match the student’s abilities and interests. Weekly, feedback from the volunteer supports the coordinator’s choice of books for each child. The goal is to instill the joy of reading and love of books in the children. Paying attention to children’s interests and choices also helps to deepen their knowledge and support the informative reading time the child and adult have together.
A reader spends a minimum of 30 minutes a week with each student. Books are read, discussed, and, depending on the experiential and developmental stage of the child’s reading, simple strategies are used to deepen the child’s understanding of the material. Seasonal books are provided at holiday times. At the end of the program year additional books are given to prevent “summer loss” of reading.
Building a home library
Every-other-week the student chooses a gift book to take home. Over the school year the child builds a home library of books to share with family and friends. The child begins to see themselves as a reader and owner of books rather than just reading books. The children take great pride in sharing their books with those close to them.
Teacher and reader feedback
Teachers are asked to complete a pre and post evaluation form to demonstrate the impact of the program. Most post evaluations reported from the teachers include comments about participating students such as: increased classroom interest, broader vocabulary, higher motivation, desire to read to friends, better able to self-regulate, and improved self-confidence. Readers’ feedback tells a similar story of improved understanding of the complexity of language and the variety of ideas in stories, the growth of children’s engagement and progress in the reading process, and also a special addition of budding friendships between readers and children.
Building important life skills
Readers support children’s overall development, including their social-emotional growth. The children are given special one-on-one time and their words and ideas are listened to and sustained. Shared stories help the child learn about themselves and understand how others feel and think.
Having an adult to help the child regulate their emotions and connect themselves with others in the stories broadens the child’s emotional capacities and thinking, important life skills we all need.
Author Junot Diaz, National Book Award finalist, and Pulitzer Prize recipient, recalls his experience as a six-year-old boy visiting the library. This section begins at 46.47