Modelling Better Reading
Stories and poems have memorable characters, exciting or surprising moments, and – often – a lot of fun. They need to be relayed to the listening children with enough enthusiasm and skill to make them meaningful and enjoyable. A good story, well read, will encourage better listening and help forge the bond between teacher and pupil.
- If you know the story – ditch the book and tell it directly to the children
- If using a book, ensure that it is a big one – large enough for every child to see every picture and key word
- Maintain eye contact with the children
- Use a range of facial expressions and vocal tones. We don’t have to be Oscar winners to read a story well – we just have to engage with it and bring it to life in a way that makes it a pleasure to read
- Insert surprising phrases into the story-reading – ones which aren’t necessarily in the book – to keep the children alert! “And the ghost said ‘SIT UP AT THE BACK’” is a good example of this!
- Don’t forget to stop and ask the children what they think will happen next, or why something has happened…but not so often that the story loses its flow
- Make connections with shared experiences as the story is related: if someone has had a tumble in the playground, bring that in to a reading of Humpty Dumpty!
- If you are holding a big book, make sure you lift it up and turn it so that every child can see each page
- Ask the less able children what they can see in the pictures, or to identify specific details
- Ask the more able children to suggest what characters might be saying or thinking in the pictures
- Pace your delivery! Don’t speak too quickly, or slowly, and leave regular pauses so that you maintain suspense, excitement…and can check the children’s attention levels
- If you enjoy reading the story, the children will enjoy listening to it and it will encourage them to become better readers in time