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Fostering Reading through Talk!

Fostering Reading through Talk!
Posted on 01/04/2016
chat n chewBy Kathy Greeley

If you walk past the library around 1pm on any given Friday, you will see a group of eight to 15 students sitting in a circle eating their lunches and talking about books. They are participating in a Chat 'n' Chew. These informal book discussion groups are run by G&P School Librarian, Ann Niederkorn. But students get to choose the book they want to read from a list of 25 books that are part of the Massachusetts Children's Book Award (or MCBA) program for 4th-6th graders. If students read at least five books from this list, they get to vote on their favorite. Students from across the state vote and the top vote-getter wins the coveted MCB Award.

Reading is a social activity. We deepen our understanding and thinking about books by sharing our questions, thoughts and reactions with each other. According to Eva Grunewald, one enthusiastic Chat 'n' Chewer, “I like that you get to talk with friends and other people about how they like the book [we've chosen]. And you get to hear about other points of view. It makes me interested in reading other books. I've always been a reader, but I've read more because of going to the Chat and Chews.”

Ann holds Chat 'n' Chews weekly with both 4th and 5th graders, including the SEI classes, between November and March. “It is wonderful to get to spend an hour and a half of my week talking with kids about books!” If you are interested in seeing the current books on the MCBA list, ask your child to show you the list in their Google Classrooms or look for it on the G&P Library website.