Welcome to my blog! I'm Karen Belt, a teacher and leader of digital learning, working at Lynmore Primary School in Rotorua, New Zealand. I'm teaching in a Year 2 class using iPads to engage and motivate learners and improve student achievement. This blog documents my teaching journey and my learning processes with iPads in the classroom. I've proud of having been a member of the inaugural Manaiakalani Digital Teaching Academy(MDTA) program and last year a Spark Manaiakalani Innovative Teacher (MIT) and Manaiakalani Google Class OnAir teacher.

Monday, 17 August 2015

The importance of reading to ...

At our recent team professional development session with Dr Rebecca Jesson, I was reminded of the importance of reading to my learners.  Often in our busy day I struggle to find time to do this, and have yet to achieve the recommended three books a day.  One of the reasons for this is the inability of some of my learners to sit quietly and listen to the story - they feel the need to continually interrupt or jiggle around on the mat.

I set myself a challenge of achieving three books a day with my learners and discussed with other teachers in my team how they achieve this.  One suggestion was to read a story with the learners while they are eating their lunch.  I also decided that as many of my learners arrive late to class and this can be quite disruptive, to trial reading a book at the beginning of the day while waiting for these latecomers to arrive.

My final challenge was how to have them engage with the reading without the constant calling out - and again, based on a recommendation from another teacher, we're trialling the "star chair".  This is a reward for an individual learner that sits and listens to the story without calling out or wriggling around on the mat.  Not only does the individual get to sit on the chair for the next story, but they get to choose which book we read next (from a range that I have pre-selected and have available).

I couldn't believe the difference this star chair made when I implemented it last week - immediately every learner was engaged and focused on listening to the story - it made such a difference that even my Teacher Aide wondered what was going on when she entered the classroom and saw everyone totally still, silent and listening to the story.  While its early days, I successfully read three books a day three times last week - it is from these books that we're able to discuss the rich vocabulary in some of the stories as a whole class and introduce the learners to new experiences and ideas - we've had some rich discussions already and I look forward to this continuing!

Once again I'm reminded of the value of professional development as a way to enhance the learning for all in our classrooms as well as refocus us and ensure our pedagogy is the best it can be!

1 comment :

  1. Very good blog. True that reading helps to learn new things. It enriches our knowledge.
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