Don't Skip the Read Aloud

Reading aloud to your students should always be a part of your day. Unfortunately, it is one of the things that often gets squeezed out.  Find out why it's so important to read aloud to your students.

Reading aloud to your students should always be a part of your day. Unfortunately, it is one of the things that often gets squeezed out.  But I think reading aloud has a strong academic impact on students, so it should remain in your schedule.

Your read aloud time should be interactive.  As you read, pause to share your thinking or to point out important text features.  The pauses in the reading are also a time for students to add their thoughts or questions.



I've come up with a list of ten reasons why you should include a read-aloud time in your daily schedule. I didn't number the list because I don’t feel that one reason is any more important than another.



 v Establish a sense of community with shared experiences.  After a book is read aloud to the whole class you've created a shared experience.  That book can be references for the rest of the year during other lessons. "Remember when we read that bears . . . "

Build background knowledge.  Our students come from such varied backgrounds we don't always know if they have the schema to understand current topics.  You can build that background knowledge with your read aloud texts.  During the discussions you'll gain a better understanding of your students' past experiences.

Acquire vocabulary.  Our listening vocabulary comes first.  We learn so many new words when we're listening.  Take time to point out a few important or interesting words each time you read aloud.  Your students will soon start listening for new words.

Advertise great books and authors.  Kids love to read the books you've read aloud to then.  They want to experience the story or characters again.  Sometimes you need to choose a book that is one of a series, or by an author who has written other books at the same level.  Try to have some of these books available for your students to check out to read on their own.

Model fluent reading.  Kids learn from role models.  As you read you'll be showing them how good readers have a good pace and their voice shows an understanding of the text.

Provide an opportunity for discussions.  The read aloud time is the perfect opportunity to learn and practice discussion etiquette; listen to others, share ideas, respectful responses, encouraging words, etc. 

Model good reader thinking strategies.  What better time to model reading strategies than during a read aloud time.  Choose a favorite book.  As you read each day focus on a thinking strategies.  When you're finished with the book, students will have heard all the strategies good readers use!

Give students access to quality literature in a wide range of genres.  We all have our favorite genre of book.  Sometimes students don't know that other genres even exist.  Make sure you choose read alouds from many different genres.  You never know when you'll spark new interests in your students.

Introduce new topics, concepts in science and social studies.  Picture books are a wonderful way to introduce new topics and concepts in the content areas.  Not only do you get to discuss the facts, events and information you'll see which students have strong and weak background knowledge in the area.

It’s fun!  Students connect reading to an enjoyable experience.  How many of you still remember one of your teachers reading aloud to you?  I think if you ask any adult they will tell you that the read aloud time is one of their fondest memories from elementary school.


How often do you read aloud to your students?




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Valentine's Day Quick Idea


 



Start by having students make the chocolate drop flowers. These are the same flowers I described in an earlier post.  All you need is a wooden stick, a small cupcake wrapper and a wrapped chocolate candy.  The cupcake wrappers I bought were white on the inside and colored on the outside so I had the kids turn them inside out.  Glue the wrapper to the stick and then glue the candy in the center.  Then have some green paper available to use as leaves. Students can set these aside so the glue can dry.



Next, pass out the hand card. 

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B_TeTuAvino-UzhYMVBOOTlsVTg/edit
Click on picture for pattern

  
I had the cards folded and the slits cut before I handed them out.  This saved lots of class time.  In order for the hand to hold the flower you need to cut a slit below the thumb and below the palm. 



The kids had a great time coloring and decorating the hand.  They can write anything they want on the inside and front of the card.  A few even came up with a name for their card company and wrote it on the back.

After the coloring the wooden stick can be slipped through the slits and the card is ready!









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