To Good Not to Share Pt 2

A love of literacy is taking flight at Mulberry School in Los Gatos, where
students are becoming birdbrained — but in a good way. Third-grade teacher Judy
Quigley said her students' learning experiences have actually been enhanced
quite dramatically by reading to Starbuck, a 7-year-old Timneh African Grey
parrot. "They have an opportunity to read in a different venue," Quigley said.

During the exercise, students take a seat next to Starbuck, who generally
rests atop a classroom chair or bird perch. The children read a variety of
different illustrated stories aloud to the bird, holding the book open to him. "I
like how he looks at the pictures in the book," said student Bodhi Hall.

Student Beck Miller said he likes watching Starbuck's pupils dilate as he
focuses on the books. "He's a good listener," Beck said.

One of the children's popular reading choices is Diary of a Worm because of
its subtle jokes about the worm's-eye view of the world.

Even though there are books and pictures sure to interest Starbuck, Quigley
said it is also the children's responsibility to capture his full attention.
This often requires them to alter their reading voices slightly, allowing for
a more whimsical or sing-songy tone.

"I read slower when I read to him," said Anna Averfa-Goodman.

The opportunity also helps develop the children's social skills. Many
students may develop anxiety while reading aloud to their peers or parents, but for
some, reading to Starbuck is different.

"There's not as much pressure on me," Bodhi said. If Bodhi pronounces a word
incorrectly while reading to Starbuck, he has the chance to try again for
himself rather than be corrected and feel embarrassed.

"It's a great way to package learning for them, so it's fun," said Lamont
Jones, Mulberry's director of admissions. Quigley said integrating nature into
the students' curriculum came about naturally since they had a general
interest in bird-watching.

From there, different bird projects were developed into various lesson
plans. Eventually, a parent came forward and volunteered to bring in Starbuck for
reading sessions.
Since that happened last year, it's proof positive that Quigley's class has
gone to the birds.

The article with a photo of Starbuck:
_http://www.mercuryn /ci_11726749? source=rss_
(http://www.mercuryn /ci_11726749? source=rss)

By Shannon Barry
Los Gatos Weekly-Times
Posted: 02/17/2009 08:30:46 PM PST

librakitty05 librakitty05
41-45, F
1 Response Feb 19, 2009

If it works...We need more teachers who can think outside the usual paradigm.