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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

7 Tips for Read Alouds

7 Tips for Read Alouds

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I'm really excited to talk about one of my favorite things to do when I was in the classroom, which is to do read alouds! Reading out loud to your class is great as a way to introduce students to richer vocabulary than might be accessible to them in print, to model expression and fluency, and demonstrate the use of strategies in reading.

Here are a few tips for making read alouds awesome!

  • Set aside some time to read out loud to your students every day. Even if it's just for a few minutes, the students will begin to look forward to it.
  • If reading a book over multiple days (highly recommended, even with younger age levels), start off with a student recap of the previous events. Good to see how they're comprehending the book and to catch up anybody who was absent.
  • Really amp up the expression. Be dramatic. Use different voices for different characters. Choose some sentences to read with different kinds of expression and see which ones the kids think fit best.
  • Model the reading strategies you're learning about. If you're talking about Connecting the text to life, make those connections by modeling the kinds of thinking that students should be doing.
  • Variety! Choose a range of genres and styles. Read chapter books to your younger students and picture books to your older students.
  • Share the experience with others! Reading out loud can be a great way to introduce Skyping to your students. You can read to other classes, or you can invite guest readers like the author or parents to read to your class
  • When you stop reading for the day, always try to leave it on the biggest cliffhanger you can find. Leave them wanting more! Ask them to make predictions about what they think will happen next.

Here are a few of my favorite books to read out loud to students.

Picture books:

  • Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
  • Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea (winner of my school's mock Caldecott this year)
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems
  • anything by Dr. Seuss, of course

Chapter Books:

  • Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar
  • Frindle by Andrew Clements
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
  • Bunnicula by James Howe
  • anything by Roald Dahl

Do you have any great tips or fantastic books for reading out loud with your class? Share below!


This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

Don't forget that read-a-loud isn't just for little kids either! My high school kids enjoyed it when (occasionally) I'd read excerpts or whole short stories to them. (I made sure they had things to listen for or questions for discussion before we started. They were inclined to get drowsy no matter how exciting the story!)

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