The Magic of Story Time

Today’s Contributor: Kim Wine, Child Care Teacher & CIC at the Clifton Career Development School


We learn about literacy in my Child Guidance class, so we went to the Windsor Park branch of the Austin Public Library and got a lesson in storytime from Gabriel Rasenberg. He talked about all the different ways to make reading exciting to a group of young children with short attention spans. I wanted to have my students do a storytime for the class, to show what they learned.

Each year I find my classes have different group personalities. A few years ago, all my students wanted to do was make videos to demonstrate their learning. They had dreams of being famous on YouTube, I guess. This year, not so much. I have to let students go to a private room to film, and sometimes even promise to delete their video after grading it. One solution is giving students a way to complete the video without being physically in the frame.

I found many read alouds on YouTube, and even a website with celebrities reading books (https://www.storylineonline.net/). I gave them the option to do a video where they read the book and only the pages show up on the video. I also gave them suggestions of books that have few words, but that are great for free form exploration (Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is great for this… “Can you find the red balloon on this page?”).

Once students could relax about being filmed or struggling with reading, they were into it. Some even wanted to add sound effects to their videos. Students reading Doggies by Sandra Boynton added ten different barks and a meow, using https://freesound.org/. We just activated the sounds during the reading. If we had more time, we could have used iMovie. Some of our videos were made using the iPad camera video function, others were recorded on our Innovation Station document camera.

My favorite was from a fairly quiet student who read Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak. Her sound effects got pretty intense for little kids, but really brought it to life.

Some of my students have even gotten brave enough to read to real children. Considering most of my students have learning disabilities in reading, I consider this a big win.

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