I found a unique idea on one of my webrings about reading to the lower grades. I thought it was a wonderful idea, but didn't get to try it until the end of school. I called it Fiesta Reader's Cafe and we decorated outside the door with a flamingo dancer, a man with a guitar and a big Fiesta sign around my door. (I did goof, by not looking carefully at the sign. My students kept talking about margarita's. I finally asked them about it & the sign had a margarita pictured on it. I had to put something over the margarita glass! LOL!)
||Fiesta Reader's Cafe
We looked through all my books and found some short ones the students thought kindergarten & first grade would enjoy hearing them read. Then we practiced in pairs for two weeks. I made a chart so everyone got to read and do one other activity. We planned so carefully...then the day we chose became a make-up day for first grade field day (it rained on their day) so had to cancel it until the following week.
We had readers (8), waiters & waitresses (4), host & hostesses (2), bus boy or girl (3). The readers were the whole class at different times. The waiters & waitresses took the order for which book (they had three choices) they wanted to hear, brought back the book and a snack. (Snacks were Doritoes & a mint wrapped in fiesta prints). After the students were read to, the bus boys or girls collected the books and trash and put them where they belonged. The host or hostess had the students sit on our rug and then led them to tables. Afterwards they collected them into groups for the teacher.
We decorated the desks pushed together with fiesta plastic table cloths and a fiesta rubber ducky (orientaltrading.com) I ordered the students bandanna's with red chili peppers on them to wear around their neck, but they got creative with them! :>)
We had planned for the Fiesta Readers Cafe to take around two hours, but had to add some classes after lunch. I had over 200 kindergarten & first grade students go through my room. The teachers sat in my rocking chair, enjoyed their snack, and listened to my students read to their students. They really enjoyed their break and told me they couldn't wait until next year when I do it again.
Things I learned: 1) Give the teachers a set time to come instead of letting them come when they wanted to...we had five teachers waiting at one point. 2) My lower readers need to practice more and make sure they know all the words...some of mine stumbled over the harder words. 3) Plan, plan & plan some more to make sure everything is in place. 4) Plan it for before field day! LOL!
Since my theme for this year is Space Aliens, I'm going to have a "Flying Saucer Reader's Cafe". I'll get white plastic tablecloths and let the students draw flying saucers and aliens on them.
I hope this isn't too confusing and that you will try it. A friend of mine only did one kindergarten class and I think one first grade class to see how it would work with her second grade class. Her theme was Dr. Seuss. She had three different areas for the students. One was a drawing, coloring and pasteing area, one was the film "The Cat in the Hat" and then her third was reading to the students.
As you can see, it's up to you to be creative!!! Your students will enjoy this and work really hard to do a good job reading the books. We had lots of lessons on how to read to another student. I heard a lot of "put more expression into it", "remember to pause at the period or comma", "don't forget to show expression on the exclamation point", and "don't forget that a question means your voice goes up at the end". They did a fantastic job...even those who usually had a hard time reading out loud. Joanne
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