Big Talk, by Paul Fleischman, might be just what you need if oral reading is on your list of things to do. If you’ve read Fleischman’s previous book of choral readings, Joyful Noise, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Joyful Noise, used by many teachers, is a book of poems for two voices, but Big Talk is, like the title says, a bigger undertaking. This book of poems is set up for four voices. Any of the poems could be read by a group of four students, or it could be read by the whole class divided into four groups for the four parts. Although it will take some practice to get started, the color-coding of the four parts makes the arrangement fairly easy to follow. It should work well for most kids in grades five and above.
Some of the lines are for one reader, and some are for two, three, or four. These lines for multiple readers ares the tricky parts — reading in unison can be challenging. It will help a lot if kids can recognize the rhythm, or the beat, of the lines, so this might be a good time to do a little review of sound elements (such as rhythm) in poetry.
The poems are in order from easiest to most difficult, and kids should enjoy any of them. My favorite, however, is “Seventh-Grade Soap Opera.” With the cut-off sentences and kids talking over each other, it sounds realistic and funny at the same time. After some practice,this poem would be a great one to record. The kids will enjoy listening to themselves later, maybe at the end of the year!
Linked with these great blogs where you will find lots more great ideas!