What are Read Alouds?

A read aloud is my favourite part of a comprehensive literacy program. It is the time that I have to sit with my students and READ to them. No matter what age they are, they love it!

What is a Read Aloud?

A Read Aloud is a picture book, or a chapter book that is read aloud by the teacher to the students. The text is intentionally selected so that the teacher can model reading fluency and reading comprehension. The Read Aloud takes place DAILY for about 20 minutes of your literacy block. It is not intended for you to complete the text in a day, even if it is a picture book. Take at LEAST a week, and pull the book apart.   Really concentrate on showing your kids what good reading looks and sounds like. 

What do I do during the Read Aloud?

As the teacher, your job is to model what good reading looks and sounds like. Focus on fluency and expression as you read aloud. It is a great opportunity to discuss what you expectant your students to sound like when THEY read aloud.

The second job as the teacher is to model what good comprehension looks like. Stop and pause at certain points of the text. TIP - use a sticky note to remind you WHERE you want to stop and what you might want to say. This is known as a THINK ALOUD. Be intentional with what comprehension strategy you want to model. This will link to your reading learning goal - what do you want your students to do INDEPENDENTLY? What do you want them to learn? You, as the teacher will model that through the read aloud. This would also be a great time to build your learning goal and success criteria.

What do the students do during the Read Aloud?

The students are active listeners during read alouds.  They are paying attention to what you are modelling and (hopefully) internalizing what you are showing them, so that they can apply it during independent and guided reading.

Some students have a difficult time just sitting and listening. Some need to DO something, especially if your read aloud is a chapter book. I suggest giving them a Reading Response Notebook.  While reading, have students write down vocabulary words that jump out at them as you read, or sketch what they visualize.  Then, once the chapter is done, have them write a “gist” summary of the chapter. The vocabulary words or sketch will help them with the summarizing skills.

You can also do assignments on read alouds.  This can vary to comprehension questions, to presentations, to even media texts. However, it is important to note, that when assessing this, you are assessing ORAL COMMUNICATION, NOT READING. In the Oral Communication expectations, there are references to an “oral text” and listening expectations. This refers to a read aloud. The students are LISTENING to reading, NOT reading themselves. So keep that in mind when planning and assessing your students work on read aloud!

What kind of books should I choose?

The books are personal choices.  There are some many great texts out there. I would suggest looking for books that fit an overall theme that you want to promote within your classroom. I like to use books that either relate to my other curricula areas, or promote a positive classroom environment.  Remember, there isn’t one book that is great for inferring or making connections - they all fit! It just depends on the lens that you decide to use when looking at that particular text.

If you haven't started a read aloud in your program yet, start now!  The rewards are endless! Stay tuned for future posts about read alouds such as: tips and tricks, my top read aloud favourites, as well as the benefits of read alouds over whole class novel studies.

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