When I was teaching third grade my students used to eat lunch in the classroom. Lunch was always crazy and loud because it is the time where my students could unwind, socialize and get some of their sillies out after a full morning of learning.
Well, lunch was also my least favorite time of the day because of all of those things.
Have you ever had a child’s birthday party at your house? Yes…now you know why I disliked lunch so much. When children have unstructured time, the volume goes up and the silliness gets sillier. This is GREAT when they are out on a playground, but not so fun in a 30 x 20 foot room. One minute they are giggling about a monkey noise and the next minute someone is up on a table with food up their nose doing a monkey dance. No thank you.
After about one week of lunch in the classroom I decided to make a change. Lunch had the potential of being a peaceful, enjoyable time. So, I decided to read during lunch. Reading out loud during this time was the perfect solution. Children ate more because their mouths were not trying to keep up with their neighbors, they listened to great books everyday, and they didn’t have to worry about who they were going to sit with at lunchtime because I had them each stay in their seats while I read a chapter or two.
We read awesome books at lunch….The Witches, Because of Winn Dixie, The Trumpet of the Swan and The Hundred Dresses are some of the favorite third grade chapter books.
Then I got pregnant and suddenly, the days became that much longer and way more exhausting. Some days I just needed to not move my mouth for 30 minutes, and some days I was starving and wanted to eat for the full 30 minutes.
I started using Storyline Online. Storyline Online is a FREE online read aloud resource run by the SAG Foundation (no logging in, no signing up, etc.). Celebrities read beautiful and meaningful picture books out loud. These are picture books that adults like because they often teach a lesson or have a great moral, but also books that children love because they are wonderful stories. The illustrations are shown closely and slowly, so that the experience of looking at the pictures is not lost through video.
My students loved Storyline Online, and although they only watched it about once a week (I continued to read out loud to them the other days), they watched each book over and over again. “Haven’t you read this one already?” I would ask, only to hear, “But it’s so good, let’s watch it again!”
Storyline Online is the perfect answer to the days you have trouble getting the reading in or the days your exhaustion takes over. Sitting down to watch a book with your child is a nice change-up once in a while and a great way to bring literacy and technology together.
Check it out. I promise it is worth it.
* I have no affiliation with, nor am supported in any way by Storyline Online. I just love the site!