Monday, March 26, 2012

The Interactive Read Aloud

There is so much more to literacy than repeated readings of books. The read aloud is a great addition to the classroom that engages children on a deeper level and allows a wide variety of skill levels to participate and gain reading skills.

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.
There are three important factors that leads to positive and meaningful interactive read-aloud.

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.
Second, let the children talk! Time should be provided for students to reflect on text and have meaningful conversations about the book. Reading is social and children love to talk about the books they read! By talking about the book, the children think and talk about their ideas that helps them to negotiate meaning and develop structures for independent thought.

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.
With these tips, you should have a classroom full of engaged readers in no time!


  1. Hi Hazar :),
    I hope you remember me.You partecipated in a challenge of mine.I'm passing by to tell you that the challenge is closed as of today,but I'll be announcing the winner in September.I'm sorry for this delay,but I'll make sure to update you on it in September.Thank you for partecipating in it and for the patience.
    By the way,very interesting post.I agree on everything,especially about letting the children have their moment to reflect and talk about the book,and also about the fact that we should select texts that don't have stereotypes.Once I saw a children's play on TV and I was really surprised how full of stereotypes it was.That wasn't nice!
    I also would add that it would be nice to ask/tell the children why they should read well and how that could help them...for example they could have a subject to talk about with other friends and maybe also use the story to invent a new play between them.

    1. I mean to ask/tell them what their goal is/or should be.So they would be motivated to read even more :) ... XO