Bringing Reading to Life

My absolute favorite thing about being a teacher is reading aloud to students!  I think if I found a job where I just moved from class to class throughout the school and read to them, I would be in heaven.  {My voice would probably be a different story.}
There are many times where you just want to read aloud for pure enjoyment, but most of the time reading aloud is used for teaching specific skills.  So, how do teachers make the most of read alouds?

1.  Whenever possible, preview the book prior to reading so you can give the students an introduction to the book.  For example,  “Boys and girls, I am so excited to read this book to you today because it is about my very favorite animal!”
2.  Previewing the book prior to reading will also give you the opportunity to introduce any new vocabulary that you think your students will need to understand before reading.
3.  Preview the book with the students.  Let them look at the pictures and make predictions about the book. 
4.  Explain to the students that while you are reading, they need to be active listeners.
 Let them know that you will be stopping every once in awhile to check their understanding.  Explain to them that good readers make pictures in their minds while listening to a story.
5. While reading, stop and ask questions to check for understanding.  Demonstrate to the students how to make text to self, text to text, and text to world connections.


6.  Make sure to keep the students attention by showing your enthusiasm for the book.  Change your voice to match the characters and really read with expression.
7.  After reading, let students share their thoughts about the story.  They can give their opinions and give their ideas for what they may have done the same or differently from the characters in the story.
8.  Most importantly, model for your students that reading means thinking!
I have way too many books to count that I LOVE to read aloud.  Topping my list would probably be The Polar Express, Tacky the Penguin, The Pout-Pout Fish, pretty much any Dr. Seuss book and Robert Munsch book….and I can go on and on!
What is your favorite book to read aloud?


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  1. I am totally obsessed with Robert Munsch books!! My kids get a kick out of them every time I read them. I save Stephanie's Ponytail and The Paper Bag Princess until the end of the year because they're my favorites. Is that weird? 🙂 I also love Mo Willems and Kevin Henkes. Mostly I am just a crazy book hoarding Kindergarten teacher. 🙂


  2. Great tips for reading with children. Very simple and easy to understand. I'd love to send this list home to parents as well. I love books by Rod Clement: Feathers for Phoebe, Edward the Emu and Edwina the Emu 🙂

  3. Dr.Seuss and Robert Munsch hands down. We are creating an author's study unit and I am trying to convince my commitee members to do these two authors. I don't know why I have to do so much convincing though!!!

  4. I LOVE doing read alouds in my classroom. When I first moved from second to fifth grade, I wasn't doing as many read alouds, but I changed that real quick! Even the older kids like listening to picture books. Chris Van Allsburg is definitely my favorite. He really makes the kids think!

    Sara 🙂
    The Colorful Apple

  5. I loved reading your post and everyones' comments. They are all hard to top, but I would have to say that if I weren't a teacher (or when I retire), I would definitely work at Barnes and Noble or a pubic library. You would find me in the children's section reading to anyone who is willing to listen or helping them select a book. I have been known to start up a conversation with a parent and their child trying to find a book.

  6. I definitely agree! Reading aloud is one of my favorite things to do in my classroom! My firsties get so excited when I read them a book, or even when it's a book they've already heard. I use most of the strategies you have discussed as part of The Daily 5 that many teachers in my district are starting to use. I review predicting almost daily, and I have students "lock" their predictions in their minds before I continue reading. Students then show me if their predictions were correct by putting a finger on, NOT IN, their noses. (They love when I give them that reminder, which unfortunately they still need! Gross! haha). It has been a great way for my students to feel validated and like they are sharing, especially when I say things like " Oh wow, it looks like so-and-so's prediction was correct!" I also agree that it is so difficult to pick a favorite. I love reading the Mo Willems books, Black Lagoon books, the If You Give a _ a __ series, and Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Thanks for sharing your tips. I can't wait to try out the rest, and I agree with a fellow commenter- it would be great to send home some of these tips with parents. They often ask how they help their child become a better reader. Often times, parents don't understand that fluency is not the only component to reading and we need to focus on the comprehension and literary analysis as well! These would be great tips to help!

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