In this video segment from Between the Lions, Theo reads aloud Abiyoyo, a story about a father and son who are ostracized from their town, but end up as heroes after they confront a monster. Theo’s reading illustrates how read-alouds can tell exciting and inspiring stories about other people and places.
Reading aloud brings stories like Abiyoyo to life for children, and it is one of the most important thing parents and caregivers can do to prepare children for success in school. From birth to age six, the brain is in a critical period of language development. Hearing language as a story is read aloud helps the brain organize itself to learn language, strengthening the language connections in the brain and making it more receptive to oral and book learning. Research shows that the amount of time children spend being read to in the preschool years strongly predicts their readiness for kindergarten and even their performance at the end of the sixth grade.
This read-aloud is presented without interruption, keeping the listener involved as the tale unfolds and the suspense builds. After the story has been read, children enjoy discussing the parts they like best, whether the story is scary, and how they feel about the father and son. This type of discussion about a vivid story fosters critical thinking and shows children that adults are interested in their responses. Since comprehension is the goal of reading, various strategies can be introduced after a story is read aloud: summarizing the plot, identifying the "problem" in the story and explaining how it is solved, thinking about the characters in the story and how they change, visualizing various story elements, and comparing this story to others and to real-life experiences. Reading is an interactive process, so we always want to show children how to talk, think, wonder, and make connections as we read.
Story comprehension also relies on an understanding of the words used by the author. There are a number of unusual words in this tale: "ukulele," "wand," "ostracize," "pasture," "staggered," "foolish." It is useful to go back over the story to see which words children have heard before and explain the meanings of any new vocabulary words. Try to use the new words during the day so that children learn to "hold on" to the word meanings they acquire through reading. Building vocabulary is a crucial part of language development and another strong predictor of academic success in future years.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.