Read Alouds

What are read alouds and what can they do for instruction? A read aloud is a planned oral reading of a book or print excerpt, usually related to a theme or topic of study. The read aloud can be used to engage the student listener while developing background knowledge, increasing comprehension skills, and fostering critical thinking. A read aloud can be used to model the use of reading strategies that aid in comprehension. Reading aloud good books can become a tradition and favorite activity in the classroom. Benefits of using read alouds One of the most important things adults can do in preparing children for success in school and in reading is to read aloud with them.

Listeners build listening and comprehension skills through discussion during and after reading. Listeners increase their vocabulary foundation by hearing words in context. Listeners improve their memory and language skills as they hear a variety of writing styles and paraphrase their understanding. Listeners gain information about the world around them. Listeners develop individual interests in a broad variety of subjects and they develop imagination and creativity: what better way to build skills which foster inquiry?

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Read alouds can be used to
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introduce lessons provide an introduction to new concepts and increase science vocabulary lower the abstract nature of science textbooks' explanations invite conversation and generate questions for discussion and investigations model scientific thinking provide content to support hands-on investigations

" OR "Wait. introduction of key vocabulary.let the students in on the 'secret' of how you." OR "I wonder what the author means when she says .. Typically a science-related read aloud focuses on a science concept. Foster's room. the teacher. they can tell a story beyond the words on the page • Using a read aloud-think aloud • When students are provided with models and explanations of the reasoning involved in reading. exploring author's craft. they are better able to use the modeled strategies on their own. I wonder how to decide which author to believe. Explicitly share thinking processes-. Don't do everything with one read aloud. • . Use books about scientists and their work to inspire questions about scientific processes or the importance of life events in choosing a career. • Selecting the read aloud • Young children have difficulty separating fact from fiction. or some other clearly defined purpose. "When I look at this picture of children playing in the wind. this seems different than what we read in book X. For instance. the author's craft or a particular literary feature.thinking aloud is making thinking public. Inspire questions and investigations by modeling curiosity and question-posing-.. use a variety of opportunities to revisit a particular focus and limit how much you focus on with any one book.. It always seems strongest to me over near Ms." • • • • • Improve comprehension of science text by modeling the use of reading strategies that are most helpful for reading a particular type of literature. Select an appropriate book based on a specific reading purpose: concept background. I think of the wind near our school. so carefully select books with the most accurate information.• model different problem-solving approaches to science that may support students in their own scientific investigations examine the colorful illustrations and photographs. construct questions. looking at science process or the life of scientists.

o o o o Does the text flow? Is the topic engaging? Are there opportunities for stopping points to wonder aloud? Does the text inspire questions? • Locate relevant artifacts. If they have to elbow each other to see it will defeat your efforts. o Some teachers even "dress" for the occasion.• Choose a book or section of a book that lends itself to being read aloud that supports your goal or purpose. Whether you are sitting in a low chair or on the floor." o • As you read. Planning the read aloud • Think about the focus for your read aloud. Other teachers create ritualized signals: "Here's the reading puppet" OR "Let's settle in as we pass around the listening stick. move the book around (either while reading or after reading each page) so that each student can see the illustrations. Remember. Use the questions to keep children involved in the book. Debra Bunn slips into a raincoat to read about sea monster tales. support the target skill or purpose. you are creating a community of learners. illustrations or other hands-on materials that might support the text and foster student questions. • • • Develop open-ended questions to stimulate students minds and imaginations. How do I read aloud effectively? Creating the read aloud atmosphere • Allow time for students to settle as you make yourself comfortable. be sure that each child can see the book. Identify any key words or concepts to discuss in context as you read the text. Mark "talking points" where you want to: o o stop and reflect or ask questions. Most picture books depend on the illustrations . Plan related activities to follow or precede the read aloud.

create a mood. • • Use motions for emphasis. o • Hint: Mark these points with sticky notes so that you remember to stop and your reason for stopping. provide opportunities for students to make personal connections o o . ask a question of yourself or of your students. but don't despair. Give young students an opportunity to add to the story with appropriate noises. Stop to do a think aloud. Discuss the title. but use natural and comfortable movements. Modulate your voice to reflect emotions and emphasize key points. If there are no (or few) pictures. Interrupt your reading at selected points to emphasize a planned focus point. Practicing will make it much more comfortable. Sticky notes can also be used to quickly note student reactions or queries. have students use their fingers to drum out the sound of soft or hard rain. • Pace your reading to allow time for the student listeners to think about what they are hearing.to tell the story and students are "reading" the pictures while you are reading the words. content. For example. pause and look at your listeners. Read with expression. And the time spent practicing is definitely worthwhile. author and illustrator for less than three minutes. CAUTION: Do not read a book aloud that you have not read yourself beforehand! Ready to read • • • • Introduce the text with a short sentence or two that relates the book to the students. Invite students to listen while you read (using the voice modulations and movements you practiced). Do not overdo it. Set a purpose for listening by sharing the reason you selected the book. Reading aloud does not come naturally.

students who may ordinarily feel self-conscious or nervous about reading aloud have built-in support. and motivation. You do want to maintain a sense of story as you read-..?" Depending on the reading purpose. This time for reflection is the key to making the reading an instructional activity. • At the end of the reading. time limits and purpose for the reading and for the stopping." OR "Reading this made me wonder. Because students are reading aloud together.. Why use choral reading? • It can provide less skilled readers the opportunity to practice and receive support before being required to read on their own. Instead... "Wasn't that a good story?" students will answer in the affirmative because they want to please you and that will end a major opportunity to generate discussion.o Do not overdo the stopping points-..keep in mind your audience. It helps improve the ability to read sight words • • . wait a few moments to provide time to ask questions or make comments. "This reminds me of . just ask open-ended questions to generate discussion like. They can make intertextual connections to other literature. It provides a model for fluent reading as students listen. encourage students to share their wonderings and discoveries. They can connect their prior knowledge to the new information presented in the reading. Choral reading Choral reading is reading aloud in unison with a whole class or group of students. If you ask." After you model a thought. • Discuss what students learned. "What did you think of that book?" OR "How did the author . Choral reading helps build students' fluency.too many stopping points will lose that. Through discussion students can synthesize and extend their understanding of the reading.. self-confidence. you may want to comment..

rest join in on other lines 4. Reread the passage and have all students in the group read the story or passage aloud in unison. Differentiated instruction for second language learners. Soloist and chorus • One child reads specific lines. Read the passage or story aloud and model fluent reading for the students. How to use choral reading? 1. 4. Choose a book or passage that works well for reading aloud as a group: o o o patterned or predictable not too long. Unison • Everyone reads the poem together 2. and for younger learners Choral Reading 1. Ask the students to use a marker or finger to follow along with the text as they read. and is at the independent reading level of most students 2. Alternate lines .• Also helps develop fluency in reading. 5. Two part arrangement • One group speaks alternately with another 3. students of varying reading skill. Provide each student a copy of the text so they may follow along. (Note: You may wish to use an overhead projector or place students at a computer monitor with the text on the screen) 3.

• One pair of children reads lines. gesture. 5. Increasing/decreasing volume 9. Effects • Accompany choral reading with sound effects. Combine selections • combine 2 poems (or songs) with one group reading a line or lines from one poem and the other group alternating with the second poem 14. Round • read in a round with each group starting and ending at different times . Closure • One person reads the poetry line while others chime in on the last word 8. Increasing/decreasing tempo 10. Echo reading • One person (or teacher) reads a line and the group echoes back 6. and clapping rhythms 11. One word at a time • Each child in turn reads one word of the selection 7. movement. Divide into groups • each group comes up with its own interpretation of the poem • each group could also rearrange the order of the lines of the poem 12. and then next pair reads next lines etc. Reader’s theatre • read as part of reader’s theatre with one character or a group chiming in verse at intervals • read poem as different characters or voices 13. music.

Use the following steps to pair high-level readers with low-level readers: • • • • • List the students in order from highest to lowest according to reading ability Divide the list in half Place the top student in the first list with the top student in the second list Continue until all students have been partnered Be sensitive to pairings of students with special needs. including learning or emotional needs. students read aloud to each other. After reading When to use:Before readingDuring reading How to use: Individually With small groupsWhole class setting How to use paired reading How to pair students Pair students either by same reading ability or by high level readers with low level readers. It encourages cooperation and supports peer-assisted learning. Paired reading can be used with any book.Paired Reading Paired reading is a research-based fluency strategy used with readers who lack fluency. In this strategy. more fluent readers can be paired with less fluent readers. Why use paired reading? • • It helps students work together. page or chapter. or children who read at the same level can be paired to reread a story they have already read. Adjust pairings as necessary . When using partners. taking turns reading by sentence. paragraph.

they make decisions themselves in the light of their own purposes (e.What are the Advantages? • Children are encouraged to pursue their own interests in reading material. o o 2. 3. This includes: o Establishing a routine for students to adopt so that they know the step-by-step requirements for engaging in paired reading (i. Paired Reading gives them as much support as they need to read whatever book they choose. Monitor and support students as they work. 4. about choice of books.e. If additional practice is needed. Teaching students an error-correction procedure to use when supporting each other's reading (i. Ask students to begin reading in pairs and adjust reading speed if reading simultaneously so they stay together. simultaneously? Will they take turns with each person reading a paragraph? a page? Or will one person read while the other person listens?).g. Paired Reading . re-reading misread words. Introduce the students to the Paired Reading strategy. They have more enthusiasm from reading about their own favorite things. Have students offer feedback and praise frequently for correct reading. and going onto Reading Alone.• The reader from the first list should read first while the reader from the second list listens and follows along The second reader should pick up where the first reader stops. • Children are more in control of what's going on . going on longer than 10 minutes. "What was your page about? What was your favorite part?" • • Implementing the strategy 1.e.instead of having reading crammed into them.) . Modeling the procedure to ensure that students understand how to use the strategy. the second reader can reread what the first reader read Encourage pairs to ask each other about what was read. signals for difficulty). and so try harder. Will they read out loud.

its much nicer to be told when you're doing well . instead of being left to work it out themselves and then perhaps thinking their own half-right efforts are actually 100% correct.so no-one gets confused. There's lots of emphasis of understanding . the number of words children look at in a week goes up.the child decides how much support is necessary according to the current level of interest. • • Paired Reading gives continuity . difficulty of the books. a child can learn (by example) to read with expression and the right pacing .it is impossible not to get a word right within 5 seconds or so. There is some evidence that just giving children more attention can actually improve their reading. by copying how the adult pauses at punctuation.g. • During Reading Together. CONFIDENCE AND UNDERSTANDING . they get through them faster. • Children are given a perfect example of how to pronounce difficult words. based on the meaning of the surrounding words. which they might not otherwise have had. Because children are supported through books.• • There is no failure . straightforward and enjoyable way of helping their children . or gives emphasis to certain words. • When doing Paired Reading. worried or bad-tempered about reading. instead of just being moaned at when you go wrong. • Paired Reading increases the amount of sheer practice at reading children get. • SO CHILDREN HAVE MORE INTEREST. With Paired Reading it is easier for children to make sensible guesses at new words. children get a bit of their own their own peaceful. Paired Reading is very flexible .e. amount of confidence. and so on. private attention from their parents. and more words stick in the child's memory. • The child gets lots of praise .and that's what reading is all about. The number of books read in a week goes up. mood.it eliminates stopping and starting to "break up" hard words. Its no use being able to read the words out loud mechanically without following the meaning. Doing that often leaves children having forgotten the beginning of the sentence by the time they get to the end.getting the meaning out of the words . degree of tiredness. • Paired Reading gives parents a clear.

a second student takes on the role of teacher for a subsequent segment of text. participants sharing a common text take turns assuming the roles of teacher and student. What is it? How does it work? Background: Students use a set of four comprehension strategies on a common text. In pairs or small groups. the teacher leads the whole class in reciprocal questioning. questioning. The group members then pose questions that focus on main ideas. ReQuest. it is a set of four strategies taught to struggling readers. students engage in the following sequence: Questioning A student assumes the role of "teacher" and reads aloud a segment of a passage as group members follow along silently.Reciprocal teaching? 'Reciprocal teaching is a scaffold discussion technique that is built on four strategies that good readers use to comprehend text: predicting. The group discusses and clarifies remaining difficulties in understanding. Also called reciprocal teaching. Summarizing Clarifying The "teacher" answers and summarizes the content. clarifying and summarizing'. (Palincsar & Brown. In a related approach. Next. . Predicting The group then makes a prediction about future content. in pairs or small groups. 1984). primarily to develop their comprehension monitoring abilities. After explicit instruction from a knowledgeable teacher. Overview: Reciprocal Reading was developed in the mid-1980s by reading researchers Ann Brown and Ann-Marie Palincsar.

syntactic and semantic cueing systems. 6. Evaluating – making judgements. 6. 4. including the use of graphophonic. 7. text and world. 2. Making connections – relating reading to self.generating questions to guide reading. Summarising – synthesizing important ideas. Pre-viewing – activiating prior knowledge. They use existing knowledge to make sense of new information 2. predicting and setting a purpose.asking whether text makes sense and clarifying by adapting strategic processes.’ 8. They synthesize information to create new thinking. 5. They ask questions about the text before. 4. They determine what is important. Monitoring . 5. it has been found that there are several strategies to good reading: 1. Self-questioning . .Oczkus (2006) cites MacLaughlin and Allen’s (2002) example of the broad framework of eight strategies that they feel is essential for teaching students to understand what they are reading: 1. Knowing how words work – understanding words through strategic vocabulary development.’ Characteristics of “good” readers. They monitor their comprehension. Visualising – creating mental pictures. They draw inferences from the text. 3. They use “fix up” strategies when meaning breaks down. during and after reading. 3. 7.

This continuous thinking helps them stay alert and promotes such actions as asking for help and rereading difficult passages. With group discussion. The dialogue focuses on a specific structure that is based on four strategies: summarizing. and predicting. Each strategy has its own purpose within the process. The technique takes place in the form of dialogue between teachers and students in regards to text. where they identify and absorb the most important information in the text. JIGSAW READING What is jigsaw reading? Doing Jigsaw Reading is like playing with a jigsaw puzzle. The last of the strategies is predicting. which above all has been found to be one of the most important of the strategies. students learn to focus on their means of understanding the text. The process promotes the exchange of roles between the teacher and the student as a means of better reading comprehension. the whole group work together re-arranging the parts to recover the original story. Each student in a group is given part of the story to read. At this point students are learning to understand and identify comprehension impediments such as unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts. The third strategy is clarification. These hypothesis come from background knowledge which they already possess. After each member has reported the different parts of the story. this helps them predict what they think will come next in the text. which continues the process of comprehension. students begin to summarize. He has to read and comprehend it all by himself in order to report to other members of the group. questioning. How to work with jigsaw reading texts? . At this time students begin to hypothesize what will come next in the text. either with a teacher or without.What is Reciprocal Teaching? Reciprocal teaching is a learning technique that focuses on the development of text comprehension. For instance. clarifying. while in discussion. To follow summarization students begin to generate questions about the text.

cohesion markers. We can throw in a bit of story grammar : the setting. or flow of ideas to illustrate why Part II should follow Part I. To make the activity more exciting. Give each group Part 1 to Part 4 of the story. We can then briefly analyse the text. In the above examples. the voice from the telephone saying he will never come back as Part III.the satisfaction gained at the completion of a task.We can use any coherent passage to create a jigsaw reading text. We can put the setting of the story as Part I.g. and to report orally to the group after reading. i. Jack being away in Manila as Part II. quote connectives. . It would be interesting to compare the students* versions and that of the author*s : a wrongly connected telephone call for Jane. The group that can reconstruct the story back to its original is the winner. to take notes it necessary. Tell them to read. we can have Jane searching for asparagus to prepare dinner for Jack as Part I. the theme.e. We can also check comprehension by asking a group to re-tell the story to the class. What kind of jigsaw can we do in secondary classes? In secondary classes. We can divide the story up in between episodes. we can ask students to supply a surprise ending after they have reconstructed the four parts of the story. having divided the story into 4 parts. we can turn it into a competition: Ask students to form groups of four. For example. For example. e. students read with a purpose : to transfer information to their friends to reconstruct the story. the first episode as Part II and so on. But it is more interesting if we use short stories our students can read independently. As there is a twist in the tale. we make copies so that each student is only allowed to read 1/4 of the story. What can we achieve in doing jigsaw reading? We can give students a feeling of satisfaction --. and Jane being heartbroken as Part IV. we can break up short stories into meaningful chunks each consisting of several paragraphs. in a story by Bill Lowe in TWIST IN THE TALE. without the help of the teacher or the dictionary.

the plot. if everyone does the reading and comes adequately prepared.") sounds silly but is remarkably effective for changing the tone in mixed groups from classroom to quasi-professional. it's hard to "discuss the reading" during class in an interesting way.etc. The literature is also typically difficult for undergraduates to read. and assigning multiple articles to achieve either breadth or depth might not be desirable. resolution. Having students prepare written answers to guiding questions or create concept sketches of key figures can help students prepare well for class. The key involves selecting related articles and helping students prepare adequately. immediately. For example. The teacher reads the first line of the text accentuating appropriate phrasing and intonation. Telling students to "do the reading and come prepared to teach it" is typically not very successful. characters... Echo reading is a form of modelling oral reading where the teacher reads a line of a story and then the student echoes her model by reading the same line imitating her intonation and phrasing. • • During peer teaching. . a text around 200 words. Then the teacher and the student read in echo fashion for the entire passage increasing the amount of text when the student can imitate the model. Later. like a short paragraph of a text. • Jigsaw offers an interesting way around both problems by having teams of students reading different but related articles and achieving depth and breadth in mixed groups. Jigsaws for reading in the literature One of the problems with assigning outside reading in preparation for a class discussion is that. ECHO READING. By familiarizing students with story grammar. we can help them read more effectively as they have a better schema to rely on. the student reads the same line modelling the teacher’s example. having students role play the researchers ("My colleagues and I..

the learner may be answering comprehension questions. translating the passage (sometimes called 'careful reading'). and so forth). and the rate of reading seems to be much lower than any other type of readings. studying the grammar and expressions in the text. or other tasks that involve the student in looking intensively (inside) the text. because. Intensive reading is a kind of reading in which readers besides linguistic knowledge should understand semantic details and pay close attention to the text. the aim is to obtain certain information. not only of what the text means. Intensive reading is for a high degree of comprehension and retention over a long period of time. word structure. but of how the meaning is produced. . It provides a basis for explaining difficulties of structure and for extending knowledge of vocabulary and idioms. (Nuttall. For example. older students may need to learn new strategies to understand how to read an information book in a way that is going to give them access to the information they are seeking. letter and sound relationships. The teacher provides support for small groups of readers as they learn to use various reading strategies (context clues. For example.Intensive Reading Intensive Reading (IR) occurs when the learner is focused on the language rather than the text. The aim is to arrive at an understanding. learning new vocabulary. In this type of reading complicated materials are generally used. Although guided reading has been traditionally associated with primary grades it can be modified and used successfully in all grade levels. 1998) Guided Reading What is Guided Reading? Guided reading is a strategy that helps students become good readers. Most often all the students read the same short text that the teacher decided.

How do I do it? Although the approach to guided reading is going to depend somewhat on your class size and grade level. the following suggestions can be used to provide an initial framework. Post Reading: The teacher asks questions to ensure that the text has been comprehended by the readers and praises their efforts. vocabulary introduction. By providing small groups of students the opportunity to learn various reading strategies with guidance from the teacher. 6. Reading: The teacher observes the students as they read the text softly or silently to themselves. 5. they will possess the skills and knowledge required to read increasingly more difficult texts on their own. students are able to read with approximately 90% accuracy. the teacher may observe gaps in strategy application and address these gaps following the reading in a mini-lesson format.What is its purpose? When the proper books are selected. Guided reading lessons are to be about 15-20 minutes in duration. . or discussing ideas that will provide the readers with the background knowledge required for the text. Students should be divided into small groups (4-6 students). Further. Students focus on the meaning of the story and application of various reading strategies to problem solve when they do hit a road block in their knowledge or reading ability.guided reading provides the framework to ensure that students are able to apply strategies to make meaning from print. The younger the students the smaller the groups. 4. The teacher provides guidance and coaching to individuals based on her/his observations by providing prompts. asking questions. and encouraging attempts at reading strategy application. This enables the students to enjoy the story because there is not an overwhelming amount of "road blocks" that interfere with comprehension. 3. 2. 1. Appropriately leveled reading materials must be selected for the group and each child should have his/her own copy of the literature. Pre-Reading: The teacher establishes a purpose for reading through prediction making. Independent reading is the GOAL .

social. parent volunteers. be prepared to invest time upfront teaching your students the procedures you would like them to follow while you are busy with the GR groups. • Tips for adapting: o select one grade-level text and one easier than grade level to read each week so that your weaker students have the opportunity to read with greater ease & confidence consider alternative grouping (interest. personalized spelling lists. Once you are certain that the students can follow the procedures THEN focus on actually teaching guided reading. To ensure success of guided reading. The other students in your class must be kept engage in a literacy activity while you are with your GR group. What do all the other students do during the guided reading lesson? When you teach guided reading you are busy observing and instructing a small group of students. Leveled reading materials. ability) encourage rereading of selections to increase fluency each time selection is read use reading partners. and opportunities for independent projects all contribute to making the program fairly adaptable. multilevel literacy centers.7. o View a list of possible literacy centers you can use to engage your "other" students in while you spend your time with a GR group. and care partners to support the struggling readers and challenge the strong readers encourage reading time to provide more practice time establish a parent volunteer reading program (study buddy) o o o o o . How can I adapt it? There are many ways to adapt guided reading to meet the needs of specific learners.