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All You Have to Do is Listen and Enjoy

All You Have to Do is Listen and Enjoy

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Published by olsonjen

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Published by: olsonjen on Jun 23, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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—Aimee Castleman—
 Aimee began teaching prekindergarten and did that for  two years. She is now an early intervention program teacher at West Jackson Primary School in Winder,Georgia. Aimee’s favorite reading from the Readers as Teachers and Teachers as Readers seminar was G
(Chevalier, 1999). She loveshistorical fiction and a good story, and this book is both.
 All You Have to Do IsListen and Enjoy
 Aimee Castleman
ello. My name is Aimee, and I am a bookaholic. No, I don’tneed caffeine, or nicotine, or alcohol, or any other chemicalsubstance to get me through the day; all I need is a goodbook. Sometimes the need is so strong that I will let otherimportant things go by the wayside just so I can get that fix. Itwouldn’t matter that my house is a wreck or that someone justdrowned in a pile of my dirty laundry. No, if I’m reading a goodbook, I wouldn’t even notice. When there is a book in my hands, Ibecome THE BOOK. The scenes play out in my head like a movie. Ibecome so engrossed that I won’t even hear my husband trying totalk to me; instead, I hear the characters speaking and other soundsdescribed in the book. I feel so many emotions while reading a good book—sadness, joy, pain, hurt, fear, anger, and excitement.Excitement is my favorite! I got so excited while reading
 Harry  Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
(Rowling, 1997) that I actuallyhad to put my hand over the bottom of the page so my eyeswouldn’t stray and give something away. I just love that feeling!Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our students felt this way about reading?I would like nothing more than to give the gift of a wonderful book experience to my students and let them beswept away.There are many wonderful young readersout there who become so involved in theirreadings and who love reading. I was one of those young readers. I read all the time—shortbooks, long books, fiction and nonfiction books,picture books, magazines, basically whatever I
I would like nothingmore than to give the gift of a wonderfubook experience to mystudents and let them be swept away.
could get my hands on. I wasn’t trying to be the class winner of most books read; I didn’t need or want points for reading. I justloved reading. So I read.Some of my best childhood memories come from readingfavorite books. My grandma had the Laura Ingalls Wilder books(1953) at her house, and I remember reading and sharing thosebooks with her. What a great book experience that was for me. Icannot imagine how my life would have been or would be nowwithout loving to read. So working with students who would rather bedoing anything else other than reading has been a challenge for me.As an early intervention reading teacher, I work with thestudents who don’t want to read because they struggle with it. Theystumble along in that word-by-painful-word phase, but amazinglyenough they understand what they read. I believe that they reallywant to enjoy books but feel trapped by what they can read.Each day, my students are supposed to bring a book of theirchoice to read to me during our time together. They tended tochoose those easy, no-plot, controlled vocabulary books that areusually incredibly boring. (And I wonder why they aren’t enjoyingbooks?) One by one, they brought their books over to read to me:One by one, I endured that monotonous reading voice. Not one of them smiled at any point in the book, not even at the one funnypart! I asked, “Well, what did you think? Did you like it?” Everysingle one of them said, “Yeah. I liked it.” I was not convinced. Theworst part is that, even though they were reading easy books, theywere still stumbling on the words. And what’s worse than a monotonous stumbler? I know it is my job as a teacher to helpstudents become fluent readers; however, as a self-proclaimed loverof reading, it is also my responsibility to help students find joy inreading. I believe that both can be accomplished.My school does that read-and-test-for-points routine, butthankfully, our students are not discouraged to check out booksthat are not on their level. I wanted to encourage my students tostep out of the easy-book box. Because they would not bring anyfun and challenging books to me, I decided to bring the books tothem. I chose several books as possible read-alouds and presentedthem to the group one day. Students looked over the books, and I

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