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February 06, 2012


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My boys pay attention to books they might not normally sit through for as long if they're at the table eating a snack while I read. I don't know if it would work in a school setting with a big class (or if the teacher would allow it), but maybe if you had a popcorn party while you were reading a longer picture book, that might work?

I think about this a lot, too, Susan, with my storytimes, and I don't have an answer. Different groups can tolerate different types of books and different lengths, and, honestly, I think some of those longer picture books are best read one-on-one, so it's on the parent. I've been trying to make sure I'm handing some of those books to parents more frequently and encourage them to read them to their kids.

A popcorn party may work, Holly. That is food for thought! I used to read to Jr. when he was eating breakfast. I loved that. Occasionally we'd do a poetry teatime, too; he would have hot chocolate. I enjoyed setting the table with snacks and books.

Adrienne, I could always book-talk some of the wonderful longer picture books and suggest reading them at home with their parents. Around here the Goodwill store can be a great source of 50-cent paperbacks. For a few dollars, I could get quite a few.

It's all trial and error, and I love watching you work with these things with your small folk who come through. Popcorn worked with older kids, too!

Trial and error. Yep!

The biggest Pigeon fan is thinking of writing his own Pigeon book. I hope he will. There are several budding writers and storytellers in the class. A couple are so articulate that I forget they're only 7 and 8.

Sometimes I kind of "Tom Sawyer" classes into a longer picture book. I'll show them the cover & talk about it, just enough to get interest, then say something like, " but i'm not sure . . . Usually I don't read this one to anybody but 3rd grade, because you really have to pay close attention to the pictures/words to get how awesome it is. I better save it until next year" 90% of the time, that helps them sit still long enough to get sucked into it. You do have to be prepared with something shorter, for the 10% of classes that it doesn't work with, tho. I'm reading Leo Lionni with 2nd right now.

Rebecca, I like that idea and have a feeling this group of friends might rise to the occasion. I love Leo Lionni's work.

BUT---from a 29 yr veteren first grade teacher---if you love it, they'll love it. Do your talking at the beginning and end, but don't stop along the way. THAT's what causes their attention to wander. Just get lost in the story yourself, and they will too. Let them stay in the story once they're in. I never lost the attention of a class with anything from Bill Peet---his are the kinds of books that get them so deeply entrenched in the story they sit with their mouths hanging open, eyes glued to the book. I love that look---and then---what glorious things they talk about afterward---things you might not even have noticed about the book. They're minds are like sponges if you just let them do their thing, and don't interrupt their thinking until the story is over.

Also, the more they have in their hands, the MORE distracted they are in a group. I wouldn't try popcorn until AFTER the reading.

Just sayin'

Deb, thank you for the tips! I am going to give Bill Peete a whirl soon because I do love Prewitt Peacock.

Let us know how they like it! :-)

I volunteer weekly at my girls' school, reading to a mixed group of 5-7 year olds. We read a story and then do a craft based on the story. The books I've found work the best are ones that involve me making silly voices, and also books the type of which their teachers might not read (because they are just TOO silly, or a little bit naughty) - for example Sir Scallyway and the Golden Underpants. Off now to read Anita Silvey's post as what you quote from her makes a lot of sense to me.

Funny voices definitely help. Interrupting Chicken has worked really well for me! Check out some of my reviews! I am following you now, too!



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