Children, come to our classroom rug. Whispering: I have something special planned. (Then I take my finger and move my lips to sound as if I am talking underwater.) I have a surprise for them and you will need to listen carefully to figure out the secret. (The secret is that I will be introducing them to various types of technology and devices to Listen to Reading, but I do not reveal that so easily.)
How was I able to catch your attention? (Hopefully, someone mentions my voice.) A voice can make things sound very interesting, funny or mysterious. A voice can let you know things if you listen to the way it is saying something, too. I have a secret which I will reveal to you through a few riddles. Listen to my voice to give you some clues. However, there is one rule. You may not blurt out an answer, but instead must "blow" the answer into their hands. When I say, "release", you can open your hand and shout out your ideas. I use this technique often with my class because it gives many of the children the think time they need, allows everyone to guess their answer, and everyone feels included.
Here are the riddles that I use: "What is made from paper, but has a spine?" (a book) "What has a voice, but makes no sound unless we help it?" (a story) "What takes a story and can give it life?" (a computer) "What tells a story, but has no mouth?" (any of the audio devices that I have in my class for this purpose).
I let the children think aloud and then share their ideas with their friends while I get my tote bag of devices out and prepare to introduce the children to the Daily Five adapted "Listening to Reading".
Listening skills are an important part of literacy. As children grow, they learn through listening. Vocabulary, comprehension, and oral language skills develop as children listen to those around them, and these skills are the basis of reading and other literacy skills. Comprehension skills develop when adults read stories to children. Understanding the story requires listening. Adults can help children develop listening comprehension by asking questions about the story as they read to check how well children understand what is read. How well children understand what they hear is important. Listening comprehension correlates well with later reading comprehension skills.
I unpack my bag and as I do so, I repeat my riddles: "What is made from paper, but has a spine?" and I pull a book from my bag. "What has a voice, but makes no sound unless we help it?" I take out one of my wordless picture books, like Good Dog, Carl, where we make up the words in our heads to tell the story. I take out my laptop and show a story that has been animated and then repeat, "What takes a story and can give it life?" Lastly, I reach into my bag and pull out the Leap-Pads, “Walkman” and V-Tech devices and say, "What tells a story, but has no mouth?" Then I demonstrate how each of these things has a “voice”. How can these “toys” could help you in school? When we talk about becoming better readers we can say that these tools can help us listen-to-reading.
Let's talk about the special care that this equipment would need, and how you would go about getting help if you needed it, especially if I was working with a group. Here is my star light. If the light is on, you may not interrupt me, but instead place their name stick (craft sticks with children’s names written on them) in my apple cup to show me that they need my help. While you wait for my help, you can read a book. If one of the listening devices needs new batteries, you need to place it in the “Repair Station”, and either find a different device or read a book, because I will not be able to fix that until later.
Speaking of things needing batteries, how can we help the batteries to last longer? Look at how I turn this piece of equipment on and off. See the way in which to plug in the headphones? When we are doing our listen-to-reading activities, this should be a fairly quiet work time, unless the children decide to talk with headphones on their heads. Children always talk louder when the headphones are on their ears because they can not hear their own voices well. Make sure to take off the headphones if you want to say something to someone.
I would like you to think about some good and some bad ways to listen to reading. I will write these ideas down on an I-chart that states Good Ways/Bad Ways to Listen to reading . Who would like to start? Does your idea go on the good listening or bad listening side of our chart? Let's read the chart once through before I let you explore the new equipment.
I randomly choose children to pick out the device that they would like to try, and we work and listen for ten minutes.
We revisit our chart and decide if there is anything that needs to be changed, removed, or added to make it a better tool for us to use to learn during Listening to Reading time. I ask the children about what they thought about this time and what tool they would like to use the next time. I have also added a Listening Center Sign to go through the steps of how to use the center.