Monday, October 3, 2011

Listen to Reading - Hate it? or Love it?

Ever since I started Daily Five three years ago, I have dreaded "Listen to Reading."  Though I knew the benefits and how much the kids enjoyed it, managing it was such a hassle!  I was using TAPE players with students who didn't even know what a cassette tape was, let alone have experience using them.  I tried everything I could to make it easier - red/green stickers on the stop/play buttons, a sticker on the side of the tape they should use, pictures of the book with the tape so they wouldn't get mixed up.  Tapes wouldn't get rewound, they'd get stuck in the player, we'd have to replace batteries.  All of this took away from precious time I could be spending teaching kids. 

Enter  Last year I applied for, and received, a grant to purchase 6 MP3 players and 8 books on CD to convert into MP3s.  (Insert angelic singing and a warm glow here.)  It is AMAZING the difference these have made in my classroom!!!  I load one book at a time on them and put them in a gallon-size plastic bag with the book.  The kids grab a bag, plug in their headphones, and push "play." Most of them have at least seen an MP3 player used before even if they haven't used one themselves.  It took about 2 days for them to get the hang of it and now Listen to Reading runs SO smoothly.  If you don't have them, I strongly suggest you look into possible funding for them.  

Here are some pictures of the MP3 players in action:  

I also bought 2 'splitters' at Wal-Mart for about $4 each.  They allow 2 students to plug headphones into the same MP3 player. 
We also use our 1 classroom computer to do Listen to Reading.  Most of the time the students listen to books at Storyline Online.
If you also do Daily 5, how does Listen to Reading look in your room?

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