As I was doing some reading and planning for the coming school year, I revisited a read aloud/think aloud I did with my reading class this past year. The novel I chose, Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, was one that I had never read. The think-alouds were genuine examples of how readers digest a text. When I said I was surprised by a characters actions I really was and students could sense that. My predictions were actually predictions and they seemed to be more comfortable sharing their own predictions because of this. Sometimes I was right, sometimes a student was correct, and sometimes we were all wrong. Students were engaged and did a great job on the assignments that went with the readings.
This activity raised what I consider to be a worthwhile question. Is there any benefit in exposing students to this type authentic reading compared to our annual readings of the district core novels? One provides authentic examples/modeling of what good readers do, and the other places a greater emphasis on students using these strategies (will giving dramatic re-enactments of what good readers do). With the pacing guide, adopted curriculum, and numerous district and state tests will I get enough bang for my buck if I do this with my language arts class? I do believe it will be most beneficial in creating life long readers, but that does not always translate to test scores.