This week we are joined by Sarah Wood, the teacher that every parent hopes that their child will get each year. She has taught various grades of elementary (primary) school for the past twelve years (she is on lucky year 13 of teaching!) and in her spare time you can find her in the dance studio and hanging out with her awesome two-year-old son. Sarah is passionate about books and uses them in all sorts of ways in her classroom and with her own son. She was gracious enough to spend some of her precious non-teaching time to chat with us about what she sees from our kids in her classroom and how reading plays a role in that!
In this episode we talk about:
1. Teachers can, in general, tell which kids read and are being read to at home. They look forward to going to the school library, can talk about their favorite book or use character names or titles in conversations and often read at a slightly higher reading level. On the flip side, it is harder to find books for kids who do not read at home that they like to read or listen to and are easily distracted during reading times at school. Sarah noted that she only applies these observations to typically developing children, taking out, for instance, children who are still learning English, etc.
2. We asked Sarah what she wished she could sit down and tell the parents of all her students and she told us that, no matter their age, all children want to be read to! The minute she picks up a book in her class, who basically never stop talking, you can hear a pin drop.
3. Sarah uses different kinds of books all the time in her classroom. When teaching math in first and second grade, for example, she would find a picture book with examples of symmetry and use the examples to visually show that example. With her current class of fifth-graders one of the reading rotations that she does is reading with a buddy- reading out loud to each other- and they love it!
4. We chatted about some great ideas of how to use those same principles at home with our kids! There is an instagram account that Sarah loves and uses called The Book Report, which is run by a former teacher, now stay at home mom, who uses books all the time at home with her kids. She also loves a website called Reading Rockets, which has resources and videos with suggestions on all sorts of things, like, how do you read non-fiction books at home (links to both of these are below). Her best suggestion, however, is to simply find something that your child is interested in, gather books about that subject and then go out in the world and connect those things. Read books about fire trucks and then go to a fire station and see read fire trucks. Find books about rocks and minerals and then go dig around your backyard and see what kinds of rocks you can find! She did share the tip to find the book first and then plan the activity, because it does not always come together when you try and do it the other way around.
5. Sarah herself has a two-year-old son and she has been exploring the world of reading as a parent as opposed to a teacher. It is just as important to her at home, however, as it is in her classroom. She even used one of her son’s favorite books, Vroom Vroom Garbage Truck, in her fifth-grade class when teaching about onomatopoeia!
We are so grateful to Sarah for taking the time to talk with us! More information about what we chatted about today can be found in the following places:
Books we mentioned:
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Vroom Vroom Garbage Truck by Asia Citro
My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis
Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle
Reading in the Wild by Donalyn Miller (follow-up to her book, The Book Whisperer)