My teaching partner and I compiled class sets of books with the accompanying audio tape (no, CDs or MP3 players at that time). Together, we had an arsenal of books that covered a variety genres and interest levels. The daily routine for reading included the required reading program, my read aloud, and the whole class book with audio. Every student was given his or her own copy of the book to follow along in.
I followed my partner’s lead and it was through her that my students and I were first introduced to Grandma Dowdel from Richard Peck’s A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder. My students and I bonded over both of these books as we followed along with the audio about the crazy shenanigans of Grandma Dowdel. As we read and listened to more class sets together, I witnessed first hand the playing field being leveled, so to speak. Students who were struggling readers were able to follow along with the same books their peers were reading. We developed a reading community as all students were able to laugh, cry, and talk about books together. My second language learners and struggling readers were the students who specifically thrived, as the flow of language was more accessible to them.
The Lightning Thief and then had an animated discussion with a male student about it. I know the book has been out for years but it is not a middle grade genre I tend to read – I LOVED it!
Thank you Kristin for sharing with us your successes with audio books and thank you for helping kids find a passion for reading.