Every teacher should know how to do an interactive read aloud. Here is why it works and how to do it.
When you consider a framework for best literacy methods within a classroom, daily read alouds from a variety of genres should be a foundational teaching practice.
There are a variety of purposes for reading books out loud. Sometimes it is simply for pleasure, and that is an experience many students never received.
Other purposes can include:
However you choose to use reading aloud to kids, it should be done in a variety of ways across different genres, every single day.
An interactive read aloud is comprised of a series of purposeful activities that also incorporates reciprocal teaching.
used during the interactive read aloud should be from a wide variety of
genres. They should tap into the readers' interests and be full of
rich vocabulary. These same texts can be used as part of a focus lesson where kids learn to read during the Reading Workshop.
Stories about Cinderella are fabulous for interactive read alouds!
1. Previewing the Book
Previewing the book is the
first step of an interactive read aloud. It means to look at the
elements of the text before reading to children. During the preview time I begin
scaffolding the students prior knowledge to those elements.
means taking what the students already know and helping them to use it
to make sound predictions about the text. Each prediction should be
based on what they see or hear in the preview. Always ask why they made
2. Scaffolding on Prior Knowledge
prior knowledge means that the teacher is helping students to make
predictions and connections to what they already know. This is critical
for deep comprehension. Think about it: if I was asked to read a book
about biochemical engineering, I can guarantee you that I would
understand very little of it.
They need you to help them
relate to the text in order to make concise, accurate predictions and
connections. This is also the time to introduce rich vocabulary words
found in the text.
*Using read aloud books is a great Tier 1 Response To Intervention. It is simply a best teaching practice that is good for all learners.
3. Emphasizing Elements of the Story
When you choose a
book to use as an interactive read aloud, be aware of the elements of
the story. Elements of a story are generally concerned with setting,
characters, and the plot (problem and solution) in the primary grades.
If you are working with older students, you then need to address
exposition and climax, as well as introducing the terms conflict and
resolution instead of problem and solution.
This is also the appropriate place to discuss what readers would expect to find within certain genres. These elements should be discussed through predictions, scaffolding and as you read the story. For example:
Elements of Historical Fiction
4. Asking Purposeful Questions
Consider the questions you model, if they are of real value, and where they fall within Bloom's Taxonomy Questions.
your questions towards a specific comprehension skill you are working
on, such as inferencing or recalling a sequence of events. Kids learn
to read and comprehend when they are hear the teacher model purposeful
thinking using Think Alouds and are given opportunities to respond
either orally or in writing.
5. Summarizing and Sharing Thoughts About the Story
Summarizing the story is essential to solidify your students' comprehension of the text. An interactive read aloud should always include how the students related to the story.
Making deep connections and inferences are critical reading comprehension skills that are embedded in helping kids learn to read. Reading stories isn't a waste of class time - it's an intelligent and purposeful use of our time.