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Read-Alouds

A Quick Guide for Elementary Educators

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Read-Alouds

Tip: Changing your voice for each character is a fun way to engage the students.

© Jose Lewis Pelaez Getty Images

A good read-aloud captures the listeners attention, keeps them engaged, and is embedded in your memory for years. Reading aloud to your students is an excellent way to prepare them for success in school, and not to mention, is usually a favorite activity in the classroom.

Benefits of Using Read-Alouds in the Classroom

According to the Elementary Science Integration Project (ESIP) one of the most important things an adult can to do to help children succeed in school is to read aloud to them. They also offered the following benefits:

Read-Alouds:

  • Build listening and comprehension skills through classroom discussion.
  • Increases vocabulary by hearing words in context.
  • Improves memory and language skills
  • Develops imagination and creativity
  • Gains insight and information about the world around them.

Selecting a Read-Aloud

Use the following suggestions when selecting your read-aloud:

  • Choose an easy reader book that students can re-read on their own.
  • Choose a chapter book that uses descriptive language, plot twits, and developed characters.
  • Choose a reference book that matches with students' interest.
  • Choose a junior magazine that students can reread on their own.
  • Choose a book that matches students' favorite author or series.

Tips to Remember When Reading Aloud

Author Jim Trelease, from Thirty Do's to Remember When Reading Aloud, suggests the following tips:

  • Before you read, recite the name of the book, its author, and the illustrator.
  • Ask "What do you think this book is going to be about?"
  • When reading, keep listeners engaged by stopping and asking questions.
  • Use expression, change your tone of voice to fit the dialogue.
  • Read slow enough for the students to create a mental picture.
  • Leave the audience hanging; if the chapter is long, find a good place to stop.
  • After reading allow time for class discussion.

To learn ten important lessons about read-alouds, read "The Read-Aloud Handbook."

Recommended Read-Alouds by Grade

Kindergarten - Skippyjon Jones by Judy Shachner. A cute story about a kitten with an overactive imagination. This makes a great read-aloud because it has fun rhyming text and cartoon-like illustrations.

first Grade - Froggy Series by Jeremy London. There is a Froggy book for just about every theme and occasion. Children love this series because the illustrations are vivid and Froggy gets himself into a lot of different situations.

Second Grade - Amelia Bediela books by Peggy Parish. This author makes it easy to teach students multiple meaning words with the use of her text.

Third Grade - The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks. A timeless story about an Indian boy that will keep your third graders wanting more.

Fourth Grade - Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. Your fourth graders will adore the adventures of Fudge in this hilarious novel.

Fifth Grade - Loser by Jerry Spinelli. A great read-aloud for fifth graders with an important message about bullying.

Sixth Grade - Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen. This book is the perfect read aloud for this age group. The students will be captivated and learn important lessons about talking responsibility for their own life.

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