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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!