My scholars love to read. They keep piles of books in their book boxes. They ask to go to the library every day. If we have to skip our daily read aloud, they demand two books the next day. Reading buddies is a highlight of the week. And the Listening Center is the most coveted center of the day.
My scholars are a diverse group.
They come from a range of socio-economic backgrounds and are often over-looked and under-served. 99% of the school qualifies for free or reduced lunch. There are 6 different languages spoken in the classroom and a wide range of academic ability. But the one common denominator is they all love a good story. Recently, we had over 50 books on CD donated to our classroom. This was an amazing gift and is used every day. However, daily use by multiple kindergarten scholars puts a lot of wear and tear on CD players. The CDs are loved but quickly getting scratched. And we won't even mention how many batteries we go through a week (20 AA's). The CD players limit my scholars to listening to 1-2 books a day. (We had to make a "no opening the cd player" rule in order to avoid more scratches).
The solution to endless batteries, scratched CDs and a limited book selection for the day? iPods. 5 iPods loaded with every story on CD. Students can pick the story they want to listen to and are not limited to my 5 choices for the week. I can create story playlists to relate to themes we are studying or featuring the multiple languages spoken in my room. Students can record themselves reading a story and listen to each other read. I can record students reading and listen for fluency and accuracy. Students can even check-out electronic books from the library or access online reading resources. The old CD players? They can be loaned out to students to use at home or can be used in addition to the iPod listening stations.
By adding iPods into our listening centers and daily routine, not only will my students will realize how accessible books are and take that knowledge and love of reading with them as they grow up, they will also see how literacy is an important part of life.
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