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Thursday, October 8, 2009

What I've Learned From Reading to Preschoolers

As many of us know, the act of teaching often leads to us learning much ourselves. And here's some of what I've learned from all the reading to preschoolers I've done over the past 4 yrs. of Literacy Launchpad.

1. Attitude is everything.
I can make a story time sparkle, or completely kill it, all by the attitude I come into it with.

2. A good story can turn a bad day around instantly.
Crabby kiddo? A sad morning? Story time to the rescue! and this magic is not limited to children.

3. Preparation does not necessarily lead to success; in fact, it sometimes hinders it.
Some of my best lessons have been the ones that felt the most thrown together at the last minute. Seriously! And conversely, many of my most well thought out, perfectly planned lessons have totally flopped. Go figure.

4. Go with it.
Things don't always go as planned. Kids don't always sit as still as you want. Sometimes supplies get left at home. Book discussions go down unexpected bunny trails... These can turn out to be good things. Go with it!

5. Don't worry about what other people think.
Man, if I had a co-teacher in class with me each week, I probably would be too embarrassed to do a lot of the silly things I do during my read alouds: the voices, the dramatic emphasizing, the crazy facial expressions... My story times would be nothing without them. So who cares what other grown-ups might think? The students live for it. It's all about being zany!

6. First impressions don't matter much.
I've had quite a few students start class with me that had me wondering, "Oh lordy, how's this going to work?" But they always end up pleasantly surprising me (there was one rare exception, but it was a parent issue and not a student issue). Often they're the ones that bring so much life to class that I'm distraught when they graduate onto kindergarten.

7. Never give up.
Not with students. Not with a dream for a business... or a cause. Not with a lesson that seems to be going nowhere fast. Never give up.

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