As a second part of Listening to Reading, I strike up a conversation with another person in the room. (Most often times it is my paraprofessional, and she knows very well how to "play along" with my introductory "dramas".)
I say to my friend, that I really like books, but sometimes my brain gets really tired always trying to figure out the words or making up the stories in my head. Sometimes I want to listen to a story, but the teacher is busy with her group and Mama is at home. My friend responds that she has a great idea. What if we went to the Listening Center and listened to a story together? I tell her that I don't know how to work the listening center and when I use headphones that they always fall off my head. My friend says I have a lot to learn, but she will teach me. We walk over to the listening center, which in my classroom is next to the "circle time" rug, so I invite the children over to watch us work.
My friend proceeds to tell me,"First, we need to pick out a story that has a cassette or a CD. Sometimes the teacher chooses a story for the class in which to listen. Then you need to sit in one of the chairs and prepare for listening. Watch how I put the cassette in the player. Now you try." I, of course, put it in incorrectly and so my students are trying to coach me through the proper installation.
Next, you need to push the “go” button—I push the red-stickered button and then complain that I don’t hear anything. My students tell me that green means go and red means stop. I push the green button and the tape plays. When I want the player to stop, I ask my students which button I should push—"Red, Silly!" There is a Listening Center Sign here to help you if you forget next time. It is also polite to rewind the tape every time you finish listening so that our other friends can have a turn to listen without having to set up."
I ask my friend, what happens if I want to listen to a CD of a story. "It is just like when we listen to the cassettes", so I try to put the CD in the cassette player. "You are so silly (again!)" My friend walks me through the steps of loading the CD’s and shows me that the buttons for the CD player are color coded just like the cassette player.
We have the player loaded, a book in hand and headphones that are falling off our heads. I tell my friend, “See this is what always happens to me!” Once more my friend comes to my rescue and teaches me how to adjust the headphones so they are not so big. Now we are ready to start. We listen to the tape for a moment and then pretend like we are done. I take the headphones off and start to run from the listening center. My friend says, “Wait! Don’t you see anything wrong here?” We ask the class if they see anything amiss. Hopefully, they point out that my chair was not pushed in, everything was left out on the table, and that I did not put my headphones away. I clean up, show off my work, and begin to walk away again.
My friend says, “Wait! There is still one more thing that we need to do—we must write a note to our librarian. We will use this form and tell her whether or not she should order this book for the library." The form is a one-page sheet that the children use to respond to the story that they have read. I have worked out a deal with the media specialist to have her write back a short note to the kids about their recommendations. This way the children build a relationship with our media specialist and they see that their reading is part of their good work on their way to being great readers.
The assessment for this activity is whether the children write a response letter to the media specialist and have it accurately reflect the story.
After you have listened to a story, there is a Listening Center Review sheet for you to fill in and put into the library cart pocket. The reviews will go to our library media specialist during our library time.
First, you must write your name and the title of the book. Next, circle a face on the page as to how much you liked the story. Then, circle the thumbs-up or thumbs down on whether we should get this book for our school library. Lastly, draw a picture of what you think your friends would like best about the story that you just listened to. Put it in the cart when you are done.