Do you meditate? If you do, gah! I’m jealous. See, I’ve tried to meditate for years. I pay for a subscription to the Calm App (though someone just said teachers can get this for free!!). I always sign up for Oprah and Deepak’s 21-Day Meditation classes (but admittedly NEVER finish them!). I read books and blogs and listen to podcasts about it.
I really, really try.
But, the thing is, it’s never really worked for me. Yes, I know, it’s a practice. And yes, I know it’s not about perfection. But, I’m really, really bad at it. My brain just will not turn off. Ever. And yes, I am aware that this makes it completely clear WHY meditation would be so good for me.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I was sharing our first chapter Friday read with the kids. As always, the books that I share on this day are AWESOME and they have the BEST opening chapters. Like, epic first chapters. Chapters that literally cause 7th graders to beg like baby chicks for “more.”
So, while reading the first chapter of Bud, Not Buddy, one of my most favorite reads ever, a feeling of total peace and contentment fell over me. Dude, I know this sounds super woo-woo, but seriously… I felt like I was floating. Now, it only took my over-thinking brain a few seconds to convince myself that I was having a stroke, and panic set in, but seriously, before that, I was Zen. Totally, completely, utterly in bliss.
Later that day, after I’d realized that it wasn’t a stroke and I could reflect on that experience without panic, I came to the conclusion that for me, reading aloud is my mediation. And it makes sense, right? You can’t think or lose focus, because you’d totally you screw up, and if your kids are anything like mine they would never let you forget that, right?!? So, when I read aloud, I am completely and totally present. No distractions, no thinking, no worrying, no planning… just me, the kids, and the words on the page.
Anyway, since that day, I’ve had to revise my list for why I read aloud often to my students:
Reasons To Read Aloud in the Classroom
- It allows me to model fluent reading, which benefits all students, but particularly struggling readers.
- It gives my students an opportunity to engage with texts that would otherwise be too difficult for them to read.
- It exposes students to rich vocabulary.
- It creates a shared learning experience.
- It improves comprehension and processing speed.
- It reaches auditory learners.
- It develops good listening skills.
- It helps Mrs. Smith reach a state of blissful peace and serenity, by quieting her loud, busy, overly judgmental, worrisome mind!