|About This Video Clip
"The read-aloud in my classroom is the center of the day. It's a time when we have cried together. It's a time when we have laughed together. It's a time when kids have said, 'This is how life is for me.'...And to me those moments where one child says, 'I had no idea about what you're going through,' that's what education is all about..."
This video presents a close-up of Katherine Bomer using the daily read-aloud to help her students learn how to think and talk about literature. Because this experience is central to Ms. Bomer's teaching, her approach is patient. She is careful to allow students time to experience the literature and tease out the meanings it has for them. The reading is unhurried and the conversation around the reading is thoughtful and respectful with students making direct connections to, and building on, comments classmates made earlier.
Katherine Bomer, 5th-Grade Teacher
Pleasant Hill Elementary School
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As you watch, pay particular attention to the ways in which Ms. Bomer models, encourages, and supports genuine conversation. She has taught students to use some explicit methods for effective conversation such as naming the person they are responding to and explaining what they are thinking in response. Additionally, her use of informal response writing to prepare for meetings between Conversation Partners encourages rich, thoughtful talk. She encourages her students' learning by explicitly celebrating what she observes them doing well, and, in so doing, gives them the confidence to continue to grow as envisionment-building readers.
The interactions between teacher and students reflect an interesting balance as well. Clearly Ms. Bomer is "in charge" and directing instruction. At the same time, she is genuinely receptive to learning from her fifth graders, asking for help with the pronunciation of a Spanish word from one youngster and enlarging her understandings of the text from the observations of others.
Additional core components of Ms. Bomer's literature program (not portrayed on this video) are independent reading and Reading Clubs. Students are asked to read for 35 minutes a night and may choose whatever they wish to read for this independent reading. Ms. Bomer notes that at the beginning of the year, her students choose a lot of comic books to read during this time, but by the end of the school year, they progress to reading more appropriate texts.
On a typical day, read-aloud time is followed by Reading Club meetings where students meet in groups of five or six to discuss one of five novels from which they could choose. It is expected that they will apply the interpretive and conversational strategies demonstrated and learned during read-aloud time in these small groups as well. Formal evaluation is typically based on their work in these groups.
For resources that can help you use this clip for teacher professional development, preservice education, administrative and English/language arts content meetings, parent conferences, and back-to-school events, visit our Support Materials page. There you will find PDF files of our library guide, classroom lesson plan, student activity sheets, and other Teacher Tools.