Saturday, January 24, 2015

Reading to Young Kids Above Their Grade Level

I heard on the news the other day that they are doing a study of heart attacks based on stories people's anger level when they read stories on FB and Twitter. Their theory is that people who get mad at what they read and respond to will develop more cardiac problems. I can totally see that! I feel my blood pressure going up some days. Sometimes I wonder why I even read things, because it does make me angry. Especially comments to articles about teaching--grrrrr.

I read a FB exchange about how a teacher uses chapter books as a read-aloud in Kinder and the responses just blew up with vitriol about how wrong that was. Well, I disagree! I think we should be reading to kids about their grade level, just as my mother did with my sister and I when we were little. 

1) It helps introduce them to new vocabulary 
2) It helps with their listening comprehension skills-no pictures to rely on 
3) It makes them think more deeply about characters because you really get to know them 
4) They lend themselves to higher-level activities.

I read different books each year based on the personality and interests of my kiddos. In the past I have read:

I think reading books to them while guiding them through the plotlines and character development is a great model for them to learn how to do that themselves.

Right now, I am reading:

It's definitely a book with big ideas. It lends itself well to activities about ethics, patterns, and changes over time. Edward changes more in this story than I think than any other character in any other book I've ever read.

We are only a little more than halfway through, but since his heart has grown and he is starting to love people-I had the kids write about the change over time he has seen-from the beginning of the story until now. Here's what they came up with:

Regardless of other people's opinion on the topic-I will keep reading to my kids. Selfishly, my number reason is it's the favorite part of my day! I love reading while seeing them really listening and hanging on to every word. I think it's important!


  1. I'm right with you! I can't imagine who these people are who would think reading aloud from "above grade-level" texts and chapter books is a bad thing. Research has shown time and again that the practice is good for kids for all the reasons you gave above. Additionally, there's no better way I can think of to build a sense of community amongst your learners than to share great literature like the titles you've used! Keep enjoying those read-alouds with your bright kids-- I know they enjoy them! :)

  2. It's just the thing to get them hooked on books and hungry for more!