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Blog: Friday, November 22nd, 2019

School Wide Read Aloud

This year started with a school wide read aloud; students from grade 6-8 have been listening to “No Fixed Address” by local Vancouver author, Susin Nielsen. 

A read aloud not only shares our love of reading with our students; but helps to set the classroom climate and culture of the school. This year, we selected a novel that our students could relate to and provided opportunities for our students to develop empathy and understanding for others. 

Cassandra Bublitz, teacher at Howe, said “students can really relate to the book. They are sharing personal experiences related to the story, they are getting to know each other, and showing empathy because of the understanding that people have stories that we don’t see.” Reading aloud allows students to experience a shared text together. They are laughing together at the humor in the story, developing a shared understanding of poverty, and making connections between events in the novel and other novels, cross-curricular content and personal experiences. “Using a read aloud is an easy way to teach and model reading strategies,” Bublitz continued, “the discussions include all students and give all students an entry point. It’s very relevant.” 

Howe students were fortunate to spend a morning with the author, Susin Nielsen, this month.  She did a reading from the novel for the students, talked about her career as a writer and her writing process. Students thanked Susin for writing this book – “my mom is a single mom and I can really connect to this book.  It makes me happy because I know that I am not the only one” and “thank you for writing this, this is my story too…”

One of the lead character’s grandmothers loved tomte, Swedish gnomes, and in honor of that our staff gnome’d it up on Halloween. There are various activities planned in pods as classes continue to read the novel.  Stay tuned in for more school wide and pod activities…

Christine Abbot

Vice Principal, Colleen & Gordie Howe Middle