Reading Aloud to Children
Reading aloud to children may be the single most important activity parents and caregivers can do in promoting early brain development and school success. Teachers at Buckeye Central Schools actively support this research. In fact, they continue to develop their own classroom practices to optimize the impact of reading aloud through what is known as Interactive Read-Aloud.
At first glance, students involved in an Interactive Read-Aloud lesson probably look like they’re simply listening to the teacher read a favorite story. Linger a bit longer and you will notice that the teacher actually has specific intentions while guiding the group through careful thinking, talking and interacting with the text.
Below are some ways families can make the most of their read aloud time at home. Remember to keep the conversation casual without “right” or “wrong” responses and this will be a time of the day everyone enjoys!
- Explore the cover of the book with your child. Talk about the book’s title and make a couple of guesses about what may be ahead in the story.
- Stop midway through the book and say something like, “It looks like Danny is excited about going to the car wash with his dad. How do you think he will act when the water starts to spray the car? I bet he’s going to want to get sprayed, too.”
- Using prior knowledge:
- “The book we’re going to read is called Penguins at the Zoo and it looks like it’s about penguins. I know penguins live in cold areas and they can’t fly. What can you remember about penguins?”
- It’s very important for readers to think about what they’re reading as they’re reading. After every few paragraphs or pages, model how you personally reflect on what you read:
- “I wonder why . . .”
- “Why is the little girl frowning in that picture . . .”
- “How does the dog feel now that . . .”
- Making connections:
- Connecting is easy for young readers but you can model connecting by saying:
- “You have a baby brother, just like Arthur.”
- “You will start school in the fall, and here we are, reading about Max who’s starting at a new school.”
- It’s really not necessary to visualize when reading richly illustrated children’s books, but when reading stories, poems, or articles that lack photos, parents can say:
- “When I read these words, I can feel the warm sand on my feet.”
- “What pictures does this poem put in your mind?”
Adapted from “Five Easy Skills to Teach Kids While Reading Aloud”, Amy Mascott, Scholastic Books