Our Furry Reading Friends

How do you encourage your students to practice reading aloud without feeling silly, getting off-task, or feeling shy?
Perhaps one of my favorite additions ever to the classroom, is the solution to this everlasting problem. Beanie Babies. Yes, those ridiculously overpriced, lovable plush animals have brought such a ray of light to our literacy time in the classroom.

A few months ago, my mom was moving out of our childhood home, and I was tasked with going through and sorting all of the remnants of my childhood bedroom. This resulted in HOURS of reminiscing, took entirely way too long, but was well worth it--for many reasons, but really because of this glorious find----


Immediately, I knew these had to come to school with me. For what? Not sure. Why? I'd figure that out later.

And thus, reading buddies were formed. During stations, I leave a basket of these suckers out and my only rules are these:
1. 1 buddy per student
2. If you have a buddy, its only job is to listen to reading. This is crucial--no somersaults across the carpet, no puppet shows with other buddies (although this will come later for reader's theater--shhh, don't tell them!)...you get the idea.
3. Treat the buddy kindly. I'm not a hoarder anymore, but I do want these little guys to last!

These are most often used in conjunction with our author station, but can also be used for free reading. The opportunities are endless!

What simple addition has been a pleasant surprise in your classroom?


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