There are many benefits to letting the children take a few minutes to reflect on a text just read, such as the following:
- negotiating the meaning of text;
- share their thoughts, opinions, and connections;
- make predictions of what's to come;
- respectful talking and listening;
- deeper conversations.
It is important to carefully select texts based on instructional purposes according to student needs. There are so many great children's books on the market that it can be overwhelming to choose quality books for the classroom. Try to find books that show situations from multiple perspectives, books with both boys and girls, and books that avoid stereotypes. Keep it balanced and diverse! The key is to pick books of a wide variety that meet the purpose of instruction, such as:
- Connecting one text to another;
- Learning about character development, setting, or plot;
- Building a classroom community/culture;
- Connect with content area curriculum topic;
- Examine an author's craft;
- Have fun with the playful language of the text;
- Notice descriptive language and expand upon new vocabulary.
Third, during a read aloud, read expressively. This is extremely important to engage the reader with the text. Be responsive to the story and the children. There are several tips to becoming an expressive reader:
- Adjust the rate, pace, and volume of their voice to the story, slowing down at suspenseful or thoughtful parts and speeding up when the story moves faster;
- Change their voices to match the characters;
- Use gestures to help with comprehension and enjoyment, especially for English language learners;
- Show the illustrations in picture books and sometimes linger on a page so that children can experience the illustrations with the words;
- Read slowly enough to allow children to create images in their own heads and process the story as well as make predictions and think about the story;
- Put their own passion for reading into the story.