Big Books engage young and older students alike. The reading of Big Books is included in my daily program. It’s a time to model reading aloud to children, or simply enjoy a story. It’s a time for shared reading. Reading aloud to children can be lost in the ‘crowded curriculum’, so like everything it needs to be planned.
Big Books support Inquiry and many companies are writing Big Books to support curriculum.
Reading Big Books enables the children to be involved, as many of these books encourage movement e.g. where it says ‘stamp, stamp, stamp or ‘wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, the children can do the action. Our Big Book reading can be very active! Many authors have realised this and have included action words.
The beauty of Big Books is they can be read over and over again. The text becomes quickly familiar to the children and they can read along.
Big Books encourage children to explore a text as a group. They can share ideas and learn from each other.
Using Big Books is essential when teaching the, Concepts of Print (Marie Clay)
Read about Concepts of Print at the Reading Success Network– it’s an interesting paper.
Reading Big Books is when I focus on, front and back, where to start?, reading left to right, first and last letter/word, reading from top to bottom and the difference between a word and a letter.
I also use Big Books to focus on writing skills e.g. we discover, what a sentence is? We learn about punctuation and rhyme. The opportunities to teach reading and writing skills through the reading of Big Books are endless.
Strategy: Big Books & Guided Reading
I use Big Books for all reading groups during the year. Guided Reading is introduced to my students only when they are able to read a RR Level 3 book at an instructional level. The children need a good understanding of ‘how books work’ before they can really benefit from Guided Reading. It’s hard to do Guided Reading when you can’t turn pages in order. So roll out the Big Books, they work!
Hint: If possible have a Big Book stand in a specific area of your classroom dedicated to Big Book reading. It makes it easier! I know from teaching young children that they need to move, and having different teaching areas, where the focus has changed helps them to re-engage quickly for a new teaching activity.
It may just be a different corner of your classroom. It’s the re-focusing on a new learning activity that’s important.
As my children’s reading ability grows, they love to sit in the Big Book reading seat and lead the activity. My goal with most learning situations is for the teaching activity to become student lead. I love being a participant. I had many future teachers in my class last year and it’s enjoyable and a little scary to hear them ‘speaking like me’. Posters are equally important and can be used in the same way as Big Books.