Stories, Art, Food, Teaching, Travel, and the other Loves of my Life

Stories, Art, Food, Teaching, Travel, and the other Loves of my Life
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do / With your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver, "The Summer Day"

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tuesday: Discussion

This one is going to be quick. Last night, instead of reading a story, I had my students listen to this one:

They were far more engaged than I expected them to be, I thought it would be much harder for them to listen to a text than to read it themselves. But I was wrong. Granted, Tobias Wolff is an awesome reader, and probably reads aloud with much more command than they read silently in their heads. They were cracking up, eyes popping at the swear words, faces twisting in disgust as the bunnies died.

I'm curious about the relationship between traditional reading, and listening to a story. Do you ever use audio "texts" in your classes? Do the students take notes? Are they engaged? Can this be a powerful part of a class, or is it simply a nice break if they're tired of reading?

Image courtesy of


  1. First off, I'm in love with the story "Emergency" and have been DY-ING for the chance to teach it. So, this little gem you found (aka: the audio) is the best part of my day! :)

    As for having students listen to stories... I'm seeing this more and more in the middle school classes. Students will read through the text first on their own, and then the teacher plays the story on cd and has them read along with the audio. The idea is that hearing the way it should be read will help them recognize the mistakes they made during their first read and, therefore, have a clearer understanding of the content.

    Personally, I think it's best to mix it up. For those students who don't like reading in the first place, they may become more engaged and excited by the opportunity to listen to a text.

  2. Really? Wow, I've never seen that... what do they mean, "how it should be read?" Like, vocab/ pronunciation stuff?

    Do they read aloud with the audio, or just in their heads?

    For this, I didn't let them physically see the text. They just had to listen to it. For me, I actually find it harder to focus on just listening, and prefer to actually read it, but I was just curious. And I LOVE to listen to stories while I cook, it's one of my favorite things.

    By the way, we're looking for a bigger apartment, one with an actual kitchen and "guest house" for you... when do we get to go to Farmer's Market and come back and listen to stories as we cook and have spritzers in the kitchen?

  3. Reading your comment while in the middle of "A DAY" and smiling. Whenever my roommate is gone, I connect my computer to his speakers and blast stories, This American Life, or the Moth while I run around picking up, cooking, or folding laundry (always with a nice chilled glass of pinot grigio in hand). It's the most relaxing and enjoyable thing... and I CAN'T WAIT until I'm closer. Especially since I wasn't able to go to farmer's last time...

  4. I know! We're actually applying for an apartment now. Long story, but with the condo thing, we'd have to be there for quite a few years for the $$$ to make sense, and we probably won't be, so yaaaay, apartments! Practically the same thing. This one has a pool though, so cross your fingers!