Welcome to 2016!
As you settle back into your school routines after the holiday break, you may want to take a second look at the “Book Corner” feature in the AIM Teacher’s Guide.
Using books is just one of the suggested ways to extend the learning during AIM sessions, but literature can also be a powerful tool when used to introduce, explore, and reinforce your lessons. As three professors from Lesley University stated in a recent article found on the school’s website:
. . . literature-based classrooms allow for shared meaning-making, deep exploration of topics and ideas, differentiated instruction based on students’ interests and reading abilities, and the examination of multiple perspectives.1
When Big Buddies read books with their Little Buddies, it helps both younger and older students develop literacy skills. It also helps increase oral vocabulary and the ability to express thoughts and ideas coherently. The cross-age buddy model on which AIM is based was successfully used in the Martha Speaks Reading Buddy program specifically to help children with vocabulary acquisition. Listen to what two experienced teachers have to say about their experience with the Martha Speaks Reading Buddies program.
Whether you are discussing plot, character development, point of view, or other literary aspects, the characters’ feelings are typically essential elements of the story. Just as using the Arthur characters in the AIM games and videos often helps children talk more freely about their own issues, examining the emotions and actions of literary characters helps children identify feelings, consider problem-solving strategies, and feel less isolated. All of these skills relate directly to the AIM topics.
Although the Book Corner suggestions are mainly picture books, literature for older readers is equally rich in opportunities to explore the AIM topics. Many classics, such as Charlotte’s Web, Shiloh, Because of Winn-Dixie, and Dear Mr. Henshaw, revolve around issues of honesty, forgiveness, empathy, generosity, and learning from others.
1. Profs. Cappiello, Mary Ann, Dawes, Ericka Thulin, & Enriquez, Grace. “The Classroom Bookshelf: Teaching with Children’s and Young Adult Literature,” The Classroom Bookshelf: Teaching With Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Lesley University, Web. December 2015.