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by Maureen Slamer

Four-year-old Amelia chose a book for her grandmother to read.  They spent quiet time reading Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.  Amelia was fascinated by the owl’s call described in the book.  Later in the evening, Amelia asked her mom to read it again before bed.  She stood by the window listening for the owls that live in grandma’s woods.


“Come on Amelia, let’s blow the stink off.”  Mom and Amelia grabbed their coats.

“What’s blow the stink?”

“It means go outside and get some fresh air.  We’ve been cooped up all day.”

“Okay Mommy, let’s blow the stink!”  Amelia checked her pockets.  No mittens.  She checked her backpack.  No mittens.  “Mommy, I can’t find my mittens!  I just got socks.”

Mom thought quickly, “Use your socks.  They’ll work.”  Mom and Amelia set off.

“I hear a widdle one…”

“Hear what?”

Amelia cupped her hands close to her mouth.  “Whoo-hoo-hoo…Whoo-hoo-hoo,” softly then louder, “WHOO-HOO-HOO-HOO…WHOO-HOO-HOO-HOO.”

Mom smiled.  Amelia is owling.  Wait till I tell Grandma!

The Power of Read Alouds

Read alouds are a powerful tool for learning.  Through books, little ones experience a variety of situations and stories that they may not encounter in their everyday lives.  They gather information from the pictures and the words.  Read alouds provide a model of language, its rhythm, expressions, and the way a book works and talks.  Amelia transferred her learning from the book to the calling for the owls (Amelia cupped her hands close to her mouth.  “Whoo-hoo-hoo…Whoo-hoo-hoo,” softly then louder,
“WHOO-HOO-HOO-HOO…WHOO-HOO-HOO-HOO”).  She imitated the talk of the book.  Read alouds intentionally foster learning how books work and how stories and information work.


• Reading books not just at bedtime. What about quiet time?

• Keeping books stashed in the car that are familiar and a quick read while waiting.

• Books on a tablet that provide pictures and narration that can be paused and talked about.

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