Reading stories to children is both an art and a craft. This is what I recognized and perceived while observing the Kinder class of Teacher Vicka in UP Integrated School last Friday, 5 December 2013.
I used to teach preschoolers before and to be honest, I didn’t really read my students stories—my co-teacher does. I just don’t feel comfortable reading stories to them because I felt then that I’m not good at story telling. I’m not animated at all and I’m afraid my voice may sound too monotonous. That’s not my forte, so to speak. I can teach Math, grammar, concepts and all but not read stories. I didn’t realize the importance of reading stories to them until that observation day because I thought then that teachers only read stories to students during their free time so the students won’t feel bored and uneasy. I didn’t know that this whole reading thing could actually create an impact in a student’s life and way of thinking.
During the class observation, Teacher Vicka read her class a story entitled Letting Sunny Go, written by Teacher Yvette Alcazar. But before that, she showed the students first a newspaper article about the fire that happened the day before. She used that article to introduce new words to the students such as TERRIBLE, STORE ROOM, WANDER, and RELIEF CENTER. She asked the students the meaning of the words based on how she did the action and the context it was used. She also asked them some motivating questions like based on the newspaper article. The story Letting Sunny Go and the newspaper article have a close similarity that’s why Teacher Vicka made use of the article to introduce the words and the story to the children.
During the reading time, I could see that despite the occasional kulit moments, the students were all engrossed with the story. They were excited to know what will happen next while sharing their own experiences in between. When the story’s finished, you could see that the students really understood the story as the teacher was having a hard time getting their attention again because they were too excited to share their own experience to their classmates, too.
I must say that I was impressed at the creativity of the teacher in the materials that she used before the reading time and even during the post reading activity time. Her activities helped show that the students really understood the story. Moreover, the activities further stimulated the students to think through on how they’re going to apply the lesson they’ve learned in the story in their own lives.
While observing Teacher Vicka and how she used the reading time to teach a lesson to her students, I was impressed and inspired. It is really important that you follow the 4-Pronged Approach in creating a lesson plan as a teacher specifically with reading as it really helps that there’s a guide you will follow so that you will not lose track and all your activities are in line with the story. I also realized that during the time I was teaching in a progressive preschool, my co-teacher who was always assigned to read stories to the class, was already using the 4-Pronged approach because she also had that pre-reading, during reading and post-reading activities, too. Only that during that time, I didn’t have any idea then what 4-Pronged was about.
After that observation day in the kinder class of Teacher Vicka, I felt that I can already do the story-telling to my next batch of students. I felt the need to read more children’s books and familiarize myself with them so that when I go back to teaching again, I already have a bank of stories to tell and read to my students as well as activities to go with them.
I love reading books but I’m pretty sure that my reading course would make me appreciate books of all types and genres. Fact of the matter is, since day 1 of my EDR 110 class, the interest to read more children’s books was already very high in me. Furthermore, I’m even inspired to write a children’s story myself. I just know that this subject would create a different stir in my heart towards reading and story telling.