The 5Ws of Interactive Read Aloud

WHO? Passionate teachers of reading

WHAT is an interactive read aloud?

What it is

What it isn’t

  • A teacher carefully chooses and plans a read aloud in order to help students reinforce and practice their reading skills
  • A time when the teacher models reading skills and fluency
  • A time when students participate in partnership or book club discussions (based on the read aloud)
  • A time when students are engaged in the text while practicing reading skills
  • A teacher picks a book to read to the class because the movie is coming out.
  • A time for students to cool down after lunch
  • A text that a teacher reads for the first time in front of the students
  • A text chosen solely for content or for engagement
  • The teacher does all of the work while students sit passively

WHY interactive read alouds?

  • To develop students’ vocabulary, fluency and reading skills
  • To provide another opportunity to practice what was previously taught in conferences and mini lessons

WHEN? As much as possible.  Try doing interactive read alouds at least once a day for 15-25 minutes.  If you can do more even better.  Don’t forget that you can incorporate read aloud into the content areas.

WHERE? Students are usually on the rug during interactive read aloud.

HOW?

THINK ABOUT THE UNITS OF STUDY

  • Which genre will you be focusing on?
  • Which writing genre will compliment your reading unit?
  • Which content area subject will compliment your reading unit?
  • Which tribes issues do you want to highlight?

CHOOSE A TEXT

  • What will engage your students?
  • Should I read picture book or a chapter book?
  • Consider the level of the text.  Will it be too difficult for most of your students?

CHOOSE A FOCUS—These are two ways that I plan read alouds:

  • Mixed Bag Read Aloud–Read the text and pay attention to the type of thinking you do.  Think about which reading skills you use to understand this text.
  • Angled Read Aloud–Read a text with specific reading skills in mind (1-3 skills)

CHOOSE A FEW WAYS FOR STUDENTS TO PRACTICE THE SKILLS DURING READ ALOUD

  • Turn and talk
  • Stop and Jot
  • Pay Attention Cues
  • Dramatize—Show me on your face, act out that word
  • Finger puppets
  • Stop and sketch

THINK ABOUT TRICKY VOCABULARY

  • Choose 2 or 3 tricky but useful words
  • Create word sandwiches  (This idea came from Cia Pinkerton and Shana Frazin.  I paste library card pockets into my read alouds.  I store my word sandwiches in the pockets so students can use them later when they reread the read aloud on their own.)
  • Provide picture support if necessary

JOT TEACHING NOTES ON STICKY NOTES

PRACTICE—Never ever ever read a book aloud without reading it to yourself first.

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anthony Pirro  |  September 15, 2009 at 7:34 pm

    I love it! Clear, concise, accessible! A wonderful resource for any educator!

    Reply
  • 2. Joann  |  October 11, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Are you familiar with Lester Laminack? He coined the “6 read alouds a day” philosophy – its a perfect fit with what you are doing

    Reply
    • 3. Deeanna  |  October 11, 2009 at 12:26 pm

      I have heard of him. He spoke at the TC Reading Institute two years ago. I have heard of the “6 read alouds a day” philosophy but I haven’t read any of his work about it. I’ll put it on my ever-growing to-do list. Thanks for the tip.

      Reply
  • 4. Pam Bloch  |  October 12, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I just heard Lester last Friday and he actually encouraged the use of read alouds for class management. You can read a picture book straight through (which is what he said you should always do the first time through, “Picture books should be consumed as a whole”) in 7-12 minutes. If you begin reading, children will stop and listen. Then you may easily and calmly transition to the next content area, “mathmaticians! Line up!”

    Reply
  • 5. Mary  |  April 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    Can you give a few more details about what a word sandwich is and how you make and use them??
    Thanks! I love this site!!

    Reply
    • 6. Deeanna  |  April 12, 2011 at 6:51 pm

      Thanks for your question! I use word sandwiches in a variety of ways. I take a vocabulary word (frazzled) and ‘sandwich’ it in between two synonyms (stressed, busy). It could look like this:

      stressed
      FRAZZLED
      busy

      Next to the sandwich you could include a picture that represents the word. I make word sandwiches when introducing tricky vocabulary that is essential for understanding the read aloud. Sometimes I paste library pockets on the inside jackets of the read aloud book and place the word sandwiches inside. This way students can review the vocabulary words before rereading the book.

      Reply

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