Sunday, September 22, 2019

Does it spiral because there are too many of us together?

These are ubiquitous in the preschool classroom.
Every day, there is a story time - children gathered on the carpet, listening to the teacher as they read a picture book aloud.
In this early part of the school year, the children are learning how to sit within a group of classmates and listen to the story. This is such a foreign art for the average three year old! I mean, really, aren't you nestled on someone's lap, when a book is read at home?
Here at school, you must sit without touching another student, several feet distant from the teacher, and you should sit quietly, listening. Honestly, my books are short and concise for these first many weeks - the children have so much learning to do about the routine of a read-aloud, that I dare not read a long, rich, interesting book, but instead spend my time 'setting the stage' with the children, noting and complimenting their seating, their quiet, etc.
I am losing my excitement about these read alouds! I feel so shackled by them.
I hear Bev Bos' wisdom...she only read to those children who wanted to listen to her. She let other children - the uninterested - engage elsewhere in the room, playing at the dollhouse, mashing playdough or clay, building with blocks. If the book was interesting enough, they'd wander over. Oh, and she didn't make them sit in a particular way, she didn't make them put down toys they had been playing with....
(Isn't that respectful of children - to let them decide what they want to do? Choose their own learning?)
She didn't die on the hill of the read aloud. (My emphasis.)

In the public school classroom, everyone gathers and sits for story.
End of statement.

Another wild idea by Bev Bos - if the children didn't seem to have any interest in the book she chose, she'd close it and pick another. Again, respecting children where they are.

Here's what my most recent read aloud looked like  -
One child running around and around, unable to sit still.
Several other students watching him, captivated.
One student is in full tantrum, and my teaching assistant is doing her very best to figure out what is wrong.
Another student echoing every line of the book.
Others yelling SHHH, I CAN'T HEAR!
Still another student yelling, No! No! No! (To whom? I wonder? Yet, I cannot figure this out...must keep the book going.)
One child trapped in the classroom's bathroom, needing our assistance, calling for teacher's help, with tummy troubles that are above his skill level.
One child is crying because another has chosen her favorite spot on the carpet.
Another child is crawling across my lap while I read.
Several students are holding books of their own, flipping pages, oblivious to mine.
Half a dozen of my students are seated with their backs to me, having lost attention due to all of the above.

Yay, beginning of the year read-alouds!

They can only improve.

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