How to Teach a Slug to Read (and maybe improve your own skills in the process)

Do you know this book? How to Teach a Slug to Read by Susan Pearson and illustrated by David Slonim.

How to Teach a Slug to Read

Find a copy and appreciate. Ms. Sheperd-Dynes, Seymour’s Teacher-Librarian passed it on to me. I was delighted and knew it had to be shared and quick!

My reading group had been busy brainstorming a list about what good readers do. It is important to reflect on things we might not even be aware of but also, a good time to check in – are there things on the list I could be doing?

IMG_1072What do good readers do?

We certainly had some great ideas. I love that daily, enthusiastic reading made it on there.

Good readers love to read after all and the more they read, the better they get at it!!

We also knew that we needed to use a variety of strategies: sounding words out, visualizing, and paying attention to context clues. Good readers also read from a variety of levels and a variety of genres.

A balanced diet of books.

My daughter saw this list and had something to add: “Good readers feel the emotions of the characters so they can feel what the author wants them to feel.”

Yes, she’s brilliant.

I then asked them to think about how they learned to read. I gave them strips of paper and felts and 10 minutes. Go write down everything you remember!


Some more great ideas

 I then read them the very clever and delightfully simple How To Teach a Slug to ReadYes, it is all about how Mama Slug teaches her little slug to read, but it is not much of a stretch to apply it to early readers and developing readers everywhere. When we finished the story, I gave the students 10 more minutes to write any more “How to learn to read tips,” that they might have thought of after hearing this story. Here is what happened second time around:


Some specifics

Be careful when you read.

Make it sound fun.

Have expression.

Be really into the book.

Make it sound interesting.


Another great idea

Other great ideas included: repeat favourite words, point out words in the text, label words in your world, learn from your mistakes, read poems, make it interesting, choose fun books, etc.

All in all some great learning and some careful summarizing of  important reading advice. We’re going to have great a year of reading.

“Why did we do this today?” I asked my students. “Well Ms. Gelson,” said Catriona, “It’s not like we know everything. There is still room for improvement! We have to keep thinking of ways to get better.”

They also told me that I should give this book to the Kindergarten teacher so she could use these ideas with her students.

2 thoughts on “How to Teach a Slug to Read (and maybe improve your own skills in the process)

  1. Pingback: Monday December 24th, 2012 | There's a Book for That

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