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As difficult as some of these days have been, with us all responding to these new challenges, it has also been rewarding to stretch and explore new tools and strategies. I have really enjoyed weekly “Story Time with Dr. K” on Facebook Live. It’s been fun and reminds me of being back in the classroom in some ways.
It’s fun but also an important educational strategy. Reading aloud with children is one of the best ways to build stronger vocabulary, strengthen literacy skills, and build a love of reading. Even when students have become independent readers their skills can be increased and vocabulary expanded when exposed to more challenging material read to them. Typically a student’s comprehension ability will be one to two years ahead of their reading ability. Don’t let those older kids fool you, they still need to read aloud. It encourages their advancement and they love the time with you. Here are two studies pointing to the positive effects of Read Aloud:
Why Every Class Needs Read Alouds
Study says reading aloud to children, more than talking, builds literacy
I strongly encourage you to build a family habit of reading aloud. Even a few minutes or pages before bed has an impact. Besides the academic benefit, it builds in settling time to improve better sleep which is honestly probably the best thing you can do for a productive school day. For more information, I encourage you to review the resources at readaloud.org.
I have also been enjoying the Story Time project because it gives me the chance to reconnect with one of my favorite childhood novels, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. In the classic tale of good triumphing over evil, renowned Christian theologian C.S. Lewis weaves an allegory of Easter salvation that can be appreciated by all ages and yields new wisdom at each reading. In the story the land of Narnia is imprisoned in an eternal winter by the White Witch, broken by the arrival of the Lion, Aslan, symbolically representing Christ. Aslan sacrifices himself so that all may be saved and redeemed. Parallels with the Passion can be drawn throughout the story and in its many characters.
By crafting this tale Lewis invites us all to enter into deeper reflection and see how we all live the story of Salvation every day. By presenting the story this way we can all see Christ’s Passion is very real and present for all of us. For me reading The Chronicles of Narnia was a watershed moment in my love of reading. It wasn’t until I read the stories again in college and taught the books to my high school students that I explored the deeper meaning and studied the theological teachings of Lewis. Lent is an ideal time to read the work and appreciate it on many levels.
I'll be continuing "Story Time" on the following days and times on our Facebook page during the week of April 13, at 10:30 a.m.
If you can’t make it, the videos post automatically to Facebook, so you can watch later.
As we all tackle unpredictable hurdles and juggle a million things, I hope you also can find time for quiet reflection, reading as a family, and enjoying time with those precious kids of yours.
God bless and be safe,
Ryan Killeen, Ed.D.