Many of my students HATE reading out loud. They are often self-conscious about their pronunciation abilities. For those who are good readers, reading aloud forces them to slow down, and they can easily get impatient.
However, reading aloud makes us interact with the text in a different way. Research suggests that it can improve retention. It forces us to focus on the text, and invites us to engage with it more deeply. I find that setting a few ground rules for reading aloud makes students more willing to at least attempt this seemingly unconquerable mountain of a task.
Even now, after almost a decade and a half of teaching, the first day of school is still exciting and more than a little nerve-wracking. But I’ve come up with some activities that help me set a tone that supports taking risks and working hard, which I feel are the core values needed for effective learning.
Students’ first assignment is a set of six questions that are on the dry erase board as they enter the room. There is a stack of scrap paper on the cart in front of the room. When I have one-sided photocopies that I ran incorrectly, I cut them into quarters and use them for passes and assignments like this one. This helps students realize that I’m looking for brief responses.