Note: I am not advocating that you pass out your novel set, cue up Sissy Spacek's rendition of To Kill a Mockingbird ("Maaacooomb waaaas aaa tiiiirreeed oooold tooooowwnnn"), and bid your students adieu for approximately seven weeks.
We all know what happens in this setting...naps, doodling, and misbehavior. Students are not going stay engaged for the Sissy's slow, southern drawl, but you know who they will listen to? YOU! No matter the size of the student, our kids love to be read too. And face it, nothing makes our teacher hearts happier than reading aloud.
Hopefully, read-alouds have always been alive and well in your classroom, but in case they haven't, let's look at some tips and tricks to make them an effective practice in your classroom.
Benefits of Read-Alouds:
from Donalyn Miller's book Reading in the Wild
- They build community. Donalyn Miller writes, "Our classroom year includes countless stories both on and off the page. Every book we read and share connects us to each other."
- They expose children to books, authors, or genres they might not discover on their own. When choosing a read aloud, select titles that lead to further reading- popular authors with many titles under their belts, the first book in a series. Students will feel more confidence when they recognize authors and titles as they peruse the library. Choose a variety of genres so that students have some familiarity and are willing to delve in to diverse reading experiences.
- They support developing readers. Miller contends that the more developing readers we have, the more often we should read aloud to them. Reading aloud provides natural opportunities for modeling comprehension and response strategies. This is also a prime time to expand experiences by reading books that are on a higher reading level than the student could read alone.
- They reinforce that reading is enjoyable. For most students, their earliest reading experiences occurred in the lap of a parent or caregiver. Others who grew up without these experiences come to school with little appreciation of and experience with reading. "For students who lack positive reading experiences, read-alouds are a marvelous way to introduce them to reading for pleasures."
You know that young adult fiction you've been waiting to read? Wait no longer. Amazon that bad boy, and in two days, start reading with your class. If you want to increase accountability while you read, post these sentence stems from the Say Something strategy by Kylene Beers and offer a minute or two of partner talk afterward.
What titles are you reading or planning to read in your classroom this year?