Monday, January 19, 2009

Mosaic of Thought

"Children need to learn letters, sounds, and words, but simultaneously they must be learning about the meaning held in those symbols on the page"
I received the second edition of Mosaic for Christmas, and just finished reading the first chapter. This chapter reaffirmed the way I teach reading in my classroom. Last week I focused all of my read aloud time on stories about Barack Obama. I purchased Barack by Jonah Winter I usually spend 20-30 minutes a day reading aloud to my students (2/3 beginning readers)The first day I introduced the book we went on a picture walk. My students know they are allowed to comment freely during a picture walk...these were some comments
"Wow, what a cute baby", "Where did "A rock" (Barack) grow up?" "It looks warm" "Why is he by himself?" "Is he crying?" "Look he's giving a speech"

I was so impressed with the quality of comments from my students. We wrote down several of our comments and questions about Barack's life, and my students shared what they already knew about Mr. Obama. Then, I began reading his story...it took us 3 read aloud sessions (I would guess 30 minutes each) to get through the story because my students had so many comments and questions about Barack's life. I believe this is what Ellin Oliver Keene is trying to convey in her first chapter, and by the quote at the beginning of this post. The conversations we (my students and I) have about reading allow my students to grow as readers. None of my students could have read this book on their own, but choosing a rigorous text for our read aloud exposes my students to higher level thinking and vocabulary. I am anxious to read Barack Obama Son of Promise Child of Hope with my students and compare the two books. (The first book is factual, the second is a poetic account of Barack's life)

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