Have you ever watched a pot of popcorn being heated? You cannot predict which kernel will pop next, or when. This read aloud game uses that same principle.
When I taught elementary grade levels in public school for 8 years, the students often took turns reading aloud. This let them practice their reading skills, and one way I encouraged the students to pay attention and keep up with where we were was to play “popcorn.”
Now that I’m a homeschool mom of 8, I use the same approach to let my own children practice those same skills. Even though I am homeschooling grades from preschool through 12th grade, we all read the Bible together every morning, and everyone, from 1st grade up, gets a turn at reading aloud with “popcorn.”
Here’s how it works:
- Everyone looks at the passage being read, and knows where we are beginning.
- Mom starts reading, and at a random point, stops and says “popcorn,” and calls a random name.
- The person whose name was called must begin reading at precisely the point the former reader stopped.
- After reading for a while, this reader stops at a random point and calls, “popcorn” to choose another reader.
- (Optional) Stickers can be awarded for children who never lose their place.
Here’s an example of our varied ages playing “popcorn.” Each child must keep up with what is being read in case his or her name is called next.
This read aloud game has many benefits.
- No one knows who will be called next, so each child must pay attention
- Each child gets a chance to practice reading aloud, but can choose how long to read. This alleviates embarrassment for the slower readers.
- There is no daydreaming during reading since everyone is on high alert in case they are called next.
- The material read aloud is remembered since everyone is paying attention.