Early in my career, when I taught a self-contained class of fourth- and fifth-grade newcomers, I definitely did read-alouds the wrong way. I knew research showed the benefits of reading aloud to students, especially English learners. I knew reading aloud to students models fluency, builds background knowledge, and increases students’ vocabularies. I also knew reading aloud to students can pique their interest in specific books as well as reading in general.
What I didn’t realize, however, was a classroom practice this beneficial needed to be done purposefully. Far too often, I’d just grab a picture book from a stack of possibilities on my desk—sometimes, I’m ashamed to admit, without even reading it first myself. That’s right—no planning, no follow-up. Not good! I put read-aloud time IN my lesson plans, but I didn’t plan FOR it. You can increase the effectiveness of your read-alouds by planning them carefully and integrating them into the curriculum. Here are some tips I’ve learned for doing read alouds the right way: Continue reading