This is what I was told as we began our teaching this fall. The students eat lunch in the classroom so I thought it would be a perfect time to read aloud. I used to do this all the time—years ago.
I am working part time this fall in a pretty “educated school.” The parents are very involved; the kids are traveling, reading, taking classes and classes after school. It is amazing to see what everyone is doing. (So different from my last to my years in a high poverty school on the other side of town.)
I thought: perfect. I will read at lunch. This will give us a 1/2 hour of oral reading every day I am in the classroom. But that statement stopped me. I did not know the culture of the school, so I listened and followed in the footsteps of those around me.
At least until this week. There was just too much going on and we were not getting a chance for me to read to the class. I really wanted to be sure we would finish this book before I was no longer teaching. So I took the leap and told the class I would read during lunch.
They looked at me a bit oddly and were worried they might not hear the story and then got ready for lunch. I began to read.
The room fell silent.
The food wrappers were moved around quietly. The questions about the text kept coming as they were eating. When they were done with their food they cleaned up slowing, quietly and continued to listen. They moved to the circle area to continue to listen. (You need to understand this is a very talkative group and are quite loud when moving or making transitions around the room.)
Today as they finished eating I moved from reading in the middle of the room where they were eating to the circle and they followed, sitting close in a tight knit group—listening, asking for clarification on the mystery or words they were unfamiliar with (what are stacks in a library?).
It was a teacher’s dream. When I stopped so we could move into their own silent reading there was a moan and a nooooooo! I assured them I would be teaching tomorrow and we could continue. They said “You ARE going to read at lunch right?” Yes, I will be reading at lunch from now on! What a wonderful lunch time for all of us!
Enjoying lunch with a great book and 28 wonderful kids!
We are reading Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein. Check it out! It is great fun!