My students need a CD player, headphones, books and audio books.
My students love good stories, but many of them are still developing the skills to read independently. Others have not yet mastered the art of choosing a "just right" book and sticking with it until it gets interesting.
The majority of my students are English learners who are still developing the decoding skills necessary to understand what they read, and misreading words often interferes with their comprehension of the stories they read, either independently or as a part of our language arts curriculum.
We are a combination third/fourth grade class in one of Richmond's poorest neighborhoods. Nearly all of the students at our school qualify for free or reduced lunches, and many of them do not have access to books or technology outside of our classroom and twice-monthly visits to the school library. For many of the students, the only opportunity they have to hear fluent reading modeled for them is during our language arts time, when I read aloud or play a recording.
A classroom "listening center" would allow my students to follow along with recorded texts during silent reading time or during language arts, as they re-read stories we have already read as a class and hone their comprehension skills. Listening to the texts will demonstrate reading fluency for the students, improve their comprehension and retention of the story, and provide struggling readers with a way to participate in silent reading time or to work independently while I work with another student or group (which happens frequently in a combination classroom).
Providing a listening center in our classroom will benefit all my students, as they listen to familiar stories (they love Kevin Henkes in particular!) and follow along in their own books.
Hearing a fluent reader modeling how to read with appropriate pacing and expression will aid them in developing their own fluency skills, and listening to the story will aid them in understanding and recalling texts.
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