Reading with your child is a parental state of bliss. What could be better? There is a secluded spot, a favorite book, and your little one. You gather close, read the words, and explore the story together. You point to colorful pictures and react to emboldened words as you raise your voice accordingly. I wish I could freeze those moments and return to them when I’m in need of sanctuary. These memories are precious because I have a swirl of experiences relating to this one act of sharing a book. My parents, my grandmother, my sister read to me; I read to my brother Jim, and to my nieces and nephews; then at last I read to my own little ones – though not so little anymore. It is a circle unbroken by generations - to love to read.
Everyone entered school either reading already or learning soon there after. Learning to read was not a concern to anyone – it was just a natural progression. Why? Did we have some natural predisposition for reading? Maybe. Was this penchant towards books something we learned? It seems likely. Two years ago, I learned about a method of read aloud, called Dialogic Reading, designed by Dr. Grover (Russ) Whitehurst (http://www.childrenofthecode.org/interviews/whitehurst.htm#PersonalBackground). As I watched this method’s procedure unfold I was struck by it’s simplicity but more than that, it’s familiarity. It described, to a T, our little reading ritual. How brilliant of Dr. Whitehurst to recognize this power of reading a story and open it up for the rest of the world. Also readers, if you have looked at the Source websites, if you click on What Works Clearinghouse, this is what school districts are using to evaluate programs that merit high marks for rigor for Scientifically Based Reading Research (SBRR), Dialogic Reading brought in some highly coveted statistical ratings No easy task. If you’re the kind of person who needs proof or if you just really dig statistics, here is the website check it out. http://www.eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/29/e1/30.pdf
How do you do this? It’s simple. There are two acronyms to remember, the first is CROWD. This describes kinds of prompts adults need to pose to children while reading.
· Completion: child fills in blank at the end of a sentence.
· Recall: adult asks questions about a book the child has read.
· Open-ended: adult encourages child to tell what is happening in a picture.
· Wh-: adult asks “wh-” questions about the pictures in books.
· Distancing: adult relates pictures and words in books to children’s own experiences outside of the book.
The read aloud method for using the prompts in CROWD is the second acronym PEER.
· Prompt: adult uses a prompt from CROWD
· Evaluate: adult evaluates the child’s response.
· Expands: adult expands the child’s response.
· Repeats: adult repeats the prompt.
Look at the Youtube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eXmwfyxS1f8 it demonstrates this very nicely. The adult begins the process with a Wh prompt: “What kind of machines do you think we’re going to see in this book?” The child begins listing machines – he is accessing that intellectual category. Think of it as priming a well – first the pump has to be primed by pumping the handle then the water flows. The adult is priming the child’s brain then the thinking flows. The adult Evaluates the child’s response then she Expands and Repeats together by doing this: “I think we’re going to see all those machines in this book. That’s very exciting.” As you watch, notice how she is crafting the CROWD prompts as she practices the PEER method. It is clear that this is a very familiar book to this child – rereading is good for children. I think that will be our topic for next time – rereading. I hope that you are finding these posts useful. I hope you are making time even a beautiful sunny cool day like today to read. You will never have a surer investment than the time you spend together in a book. So read, enjoy, and discover.