Empowering Students to Read

Listen to Reading is one of my six centers that I have incorporated into my Reading Workshop. Obviously, the name comes from the Daily Five. This past school year my goal was to empower students to read, read , read and eventually read independently. I have to say that I think I did a great job accomplishing this goal by the end of the year. They really developed a love for reading.

However, it didn't begin with such a great start. I began the year with teaching them how to pick a "Just Right Book" and then letting them go by tables to the library which I organized by genre to choose a book to read. However, the majority of my students did not have the motivation, stamina, and they were not choosing books on their level even though we just practiced, which led me to change things to fit their needs. I did give them time though, to try and delve into their books of choice, but I found it hard to conference with 30+ students and still manage to cover what I needed throughout the day. I even gave them time to write, but at the beginning of the year I found my students needed more structure and my mistake was I probably should have modeled how I wanted this done. Anyways, that is not what I did. I may however, try again this coming school year with giving them choice and modeling how I would like them to respond. I would like to make this part of their homework, but we'll see! Any thoughts????

So, by October my partner teacher, Mr. Martinez suggested the chapter book Bunnicula. This book was definitely at higher reading level for my 4th graders, but was a great book to model thinking aloud and how to respond to reading. It was also a great book to read around Halloween! About 3 chapters in or so, they were hooked! Then around November we began reading Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. This chapter book was great to introduce dialogue to students. Students loved taking on  parts of the characters. They loved role playing so much we decided to put on a Christmas play!

By January, with the state tests coming up they were becoming more independent readers. This is when I introduced the students to James and the Giant Peach and my second class to Because of Winn Dixie.
I also found another 4th grade class on Twitter that was interested in collaborating with us on James and the Giant Peach. I used Edmodo to pose questions, movie trailers, polls, and even put chapter quizzes online.

I purchased through Amazon the audiobook of both chapters books, which really helped my lower level readers, and uploaded these books to our class iPods, for the listen to reading center. The only bad thing is that students could not go directly to the chapter they were on, so instead it took them a minute to find the chapter via the iPod.

So, as I look into the future of my next 4th grade class I have begun with compiling a list of sites that contain free audiobooks for my students on Symbaloo. Please view my sites and reply below with any sites that you may use with your students so that I may add them to my web mix.

I would love your comments and suggestions regarding my post.


  1. I don't have any ipods in my room but I have invested in CD players and books on CDs. I have these in a tub along with the books. To help students keep track of where they are on the CD, there is a notebook in the tub, so the student can write the track # and time, so locating the ending spot is easier.

    Thanks for the above resource. I like the idea of free audiobooks. I'm wondering if I can download and burn to a CD?

    And here are a few thoughts as far as WOW (work on writing) goes. I modeled a writing style (letter, poem, list, etc.) and then the students have to produce one.

    Monday I modeled, Tues.-Wed. was spent working on that writing genre. If they produced a satisfactory project and it was Tuesday, they still had to work on that genre of writing on Wednesday...Thursday was free-writing time, but only the genres I'd modeled. (We get out early on Fridays, so there is no writing time.)

    This is probably a longer response than you wanted, but I also don't spend enough time modeling and then I end up reteaching and modeling.


    A Time to Share & Create


    Fabulous 4th Grade

    1. Love all your ideas! Thanks for sharing and leaving a comment. I especially like the notebook idea to record the time and track #. Will definitely be using this idea.

  2. I love the idea of using audio books in class, but I don't have the resources for it yet. Hopefully (my principal promised) I will be getting some iPads for my classroom and then...watch out! Since I couldn't have the kids listen to the audio books when we all read Because of Winn-Dixie I just read with my lower students. I was the audio. :) Thanks for compiling this list of sites. I'll definitely be coming back to use it as a reference?

    The Teaching Thief


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