My classroom is not a quiet, orderly place.
Students are constantly moving, thinking, talking, reading and writing.
I do my best to help my students find success.

March 4, 2016

Reaffirming my reading beliefs #SOL16 4/31

It's the annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!
Read other slices, join our community of writers at
Today was a professional development across the county, so we could choose what PD we wanted to attend.  Thankfully, a colleague sent out an email to that Dr. Steven Layne would be one of the presenters.  (I almost missed the deadline!)'

Dr. Layne is a literacy advocate from Judson University.  I read his professional book, "Igniting a Passion for Reading" many years back, and his passion for reading is clear throughout the book.  I remember nodding my head and marking lots of pages with sticky notes to share with my coworkers.  
Today I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Layne in person.  He spoke about reading aloud to students, K-12, and shared the big ideas from his newer book, "In Defense of Read Aloud:  Sustaining Best Practice."  Even though I'm a staunch supporter of read alouds, spending the day listening to Dr. Layne simply cemented my reading beliefs.

As I looked around, I could see many people nodding.  A few middle school and high school teachers asked some great questions like, "How can I fit in read aloud at my level?"  and "What if I'm in the library?"  Everyone wanted the magic formula for how many minutes per day, per week, per month they should take away time from the curriculum to "do" read alouds." 

I was pleased as punch to hear Dr. Layne clearly explain to them that read alouds ARE instructional time.  Read alouds should be chosen with intention and planned for like any other lesson.   

YES!  Read aloud time is precious - it allows us to take our students out of their small town and into new cities, times and dimensions.  We can use read alouds to tackle important topics in society or small conflicts at recess.  Books are really important instructional tools.

My little notebook is teeming with quotes from the day, and I used my Twitter feed to broadcast my favorites.  I left the session feeling energized and proud.  I even talked my hubby into a library visit tonight so I could grab a pile of books that Dr. Layne recommended!


  1. Wish I had been there, so glad I read this slice! I had a great read aloud experience at school today. Read aloud is so important.

  2. Great post! I am a super believer in the read aloud! The more you do it the better you get and the better your students get! Great way to build community. I will look into Steven Layne's books.

  3. Great post! I am a super believer in the read aloud! The more you do it the better you get and the better your students get! Great way to build community. I will look into Steven Layne's books.

  4. It's exciting when one of tribe members -- a leader in the tribe too -- shares that wealth and knowledge that you know and believe. Those moments of a nod and head shake in agreement. It's validating to hear the message, even if he's preaching to the choir. Not all those teachers in that room with you have heard the choir sing ... but hopefully they'll be joining in soon! Bravo to a great day!

  5. Ah yes, read alouds are so important and I have found help to build a community. It is always fun to meet someone after you've read their book. What fun!

  6. Loved reading your post! Love that you're so inspired. And YES! Books are instructional tools!!

  7. Wonderful way to spend a day - learning and reinforcing what you already know, but now can spread the word even further. The expression and emphasis made while reading aloud makes the book become alive in all of our minds.

  8. I'm a middle school teacher, and while I've done some reading aloud most of my career, I've really committed to it this year. It is so wonderful to see kids falling into the story, to see students who "hate books" connecting to literature, to build their savvy about cliffhangers and foreshadowing and motifs. And we're planning our second visit to a local bookstore to hear one of our read-aloud authors speak!