The read aloud. It’s a teacher’s dream. The students all sitting quietly, listening, learning, enjoying the book! That’s what we all hope for right?!
Now don’t get me wrong, these moments exist and they should be cherished! But sometimes, I wanted to make sure I was making the most of my precious read aloud moments and really kicking them up a notch. If you want to do the same, I am here to share 3 of my top tips for revving up your read aloud. I have some great freebies for you too!
Before I dive in, I do have this content available in video format if you’d rather watch/listen, just go ahead and click play below:
TIP 1 – use a responsive approach instead of a directive approach:
Okay, what does this mean? A directive approach is when a teacher asks a comprehension question to “check-in” with the class during a read aloud and when the student responds, the teacher either says confirms their answer or explains what the correct answer is and moves on. It is a direct way to see what information students have gathered and then get back into the read aloud to continue on.
A responsive approach is one where the teacher will still ask check-in questions, but instead of just quickly say “yes” or “no” then moving on, they are more responsive to the student’s answer. They may check in with other students’ thoughts to see if they agree or disagree. They may ask for evidence from the text or a connection to the student’s real life. It is a more engaging way to discuss the read aloud in a way that matters to students. I explain a bit more in the video, but this idea is one I got from reading the following PD book a few years back:
This book focuses on this responsive approach to read-alouds in a K-2 classroom and I learned so many great tips about holding more purposeful read-aloud sessions in this text.
TIP 2 – skill first, book later:
Now, trust me when I say not every book you read aloud needs to have a focus skill. I really emphasize that in my video above. BUT… when you want to kick your read aloud up a notch and use it as a time to review skills your class may need more work with, it’s important to work backward. Instead of just choosing a new, shiny, seasonal book and trying to make it work for identifying the problem and solution, look for a book that has a clear problem and a clear solution. This way students can practice identifying the problem and solution in a text and gain confidence in doing so before moving onto other texts.
There are SO many great book lists out there, but I went ahead and shared with you a list of texts I use to teach different skills throughout the year. The majority of these picture books have been around for a long, long time and are tried and true!
You can grab the book list below:
TIP 3 – plan your questions ahead of time:
Many teachers already do this, but this is an important thing to remember, especially when you want to ask students those higher order thinking questions. I find that when I haven’t planned out my stopping points or questions, I can easily skip over things or forget important questions I wanted to ask.
I used to use sticky notes in the past to easily mark my pages, but a few years ago I actually created these one-page read alouds as a way to store my questions ahead of time! I’ve learned to like them better because I would constantly lose the sticky notes or they would get all crumpled. Now I store these in a binder, sorted by skill and I have a completely prepared read aloud with plenty of questions all ready to go whenever I need one!
Many teachers who’ve used these before also love these for a sub because they include any special words or terms you may want to front-load with my students, the focus skill, a quick preview of the book. When I create these, I will usually keep my computer open with my book next to me and when I think of a great question, I write the page numbers as well as the question so I don’t forget it.
I went ahead and shared a free read aloud lesson for Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena and a free one-page template for you to try on your own while planning your read alouds! You can grab those by clicking the image below:
So there are 3 tips to make the most out of your read-aloud time in the classroom! I hope you enjoyed these tips and remember to pin the image below so you can save this post for the future: