Modelling Better Reading
Stories and poems have memorable characters, exciting or surprising moments, and – often – a lot of fun. They need to be relayed to the listening children with enough enthusiasm and skill to make them meaningful and enjoyable. A good story, well read, will encourage better listening and help forge the bond between teacher and pupil.
If you know the story – ditch the book and tell it directly to the children
If using a book, ensure that it is a big one – large enough for every child to see every picture and key word
Maintain eye contact with the children
Use a range of facial expressions and vocal tones. We don’t have to be Oscar winners to read a story well – we just have to engage with it and bring it to life in a way that makes it a pleasure to read
Insert surprising phrases into the story-reading – ones which aren’t necessarily in the book – to keep the children alert! “And the ghost said ‘SIT UP AT THE BACK’” is a good example of this!
Don’t forget to stop and ask the children what they think will happen next, or why something has happened…but not so often that the story loses its flow
Make connections with shared experiences as the story is related: if someone has had a tumble in the playground, bring that in to a reading of Humpty Dumpty!
If you are holding a big book, make sure you lift it up and turn it so that every child can see each page
Ask the less able children what they can see in the pictures, or to identify specific details
Ask the more able children to suggest what characters might be saying or thinking in the pictures
Pace your delivery! Don’t speak too quickly, or slowly, and leave regular pauses so that you maintain suspense, excitement…and can check the children’s attention levels
If you enjoy reading the story, the children will enjoy listening to it and it will encourage them to become better readers in time