As teachers, we know how valuable time with our students is: Pull outs for special education services, state testing, assemblies, and the days leading up to the holidays and vacations – forget about it! Additionally, we have mandates set by the federal, state, and local governments. We have expectations set by our districts. Oh and don’t forget how there always seems to be one more thing that we need to implement during the school day with our students. All of these mandates can make it challenging to fit in things that we know is important for our kids – but may not currently be a priority within our school… Read alouds. With time being so restricted, it can be difficult to find time to implement read alouds in our classrooms.
THIS BLOG POST WILL…
- offer 20 reasons why read aloud is important
- provide 5 potential ways to fit read alouds in your schedule
- suggest 5 ways parents/caregivers can fit read alouds into their schedules
20 Reasons Why Read Aloud is Important
Reading aloud books to children is one of the most valuable experiences parents and teachers can provide to young learners. It has the following benefits:
- builds important foundational reading and writing skills
- models reading fluency and expression
- builds a love of reading and learning
- develops an interest in books
- demonstrates that written words carry meaning
- equips students with book handling skills
- exposes them to rich vocabulary above their independent reading ability
- makes challenging books accessible
- motivates them to practice reading independently to improve reading skills
- strengthens auditory processing skills
- increases reading comprehension skills
- models good thinking and problem solving strategies
- shows how to apply reading strategies to books
- improves self-regulation
- promotes critical thinking and higher level thinking skills
- creates a sense of community in the classroom
- provides opportunities to apply and build upon background knowledge
- exposes them to a variety of genres
- promotes curiosity and inquiry
- provides a framework to teach important skills, information, and lessons
5 Ways to Fit Read Alouds in Your Schedule
- Schedule it into your day: Set aside 15 minutes to read a book and discuss it with your students. If you are thinking, “Are you crazy lady? That’s impossible!” then try three times per week or perhaps once a week. Figure out what works best for you and your students. Perhaps it could be first thing in the morning, during your literacy block, snack time, right after lunch, or the end of the day.
- Utilize awkward time increments: If you finish up a lesson early and have 10-15 minutes available as a result, try using this time in a meaningful way by doing a read aloud with your students. Another example is that your students pack up quicker than normal and are waiting for the buses to be called. Use this time to share and discuss a text with them.
- Integrate it into other content areas: There are so many different ways to integrate children’s literature into other content areas: Writing, math, science, social studies, and STEAM. My favorite way to go about this is to introduce a lesson using a book. It’s a fun way to pull students in and get them excited about a topic!
- Use it as a support tool for tough topics: There are so many challenges that come up throughout the school year: Being inclusive, managing frustration or worry, bullying, etc. When these challenges come up, pull out a read aloud that depicts the problem in the story so that it naturally springboards classroom discussions. Brainstorm possible solutions with your class and encourage thoughtful dialogue among students. If you have morning meeting, this could be a perfect time to have these discussions.
- Make the most of days with irregular schedules: School days with field trips, assemblies, class parties, or field day can mess with your schedule. Take advantage of these days by making time for a read aloud. It is a great way to keep a calm classroom environment on what would otherwise be a crazy day!
5 Ways Parents/Caregivers Can Fit Read Alouds into Their Schedules
- Schedule it into the day: Encourage families to set aside time each day where they read aloud a book with their child. Perhaps it could be part of the bedtime routine. After their little one puts their pajamas on and brushes their teeth, they can share a story together. If nights are too crazy, then maybe they could consider making it part of the morning routine.
- Play audio books in the car and discuss the story: Suggest to families that they purchase audio books for when they are in the car. Pause the audiobook to stop and talk about what is happening in the story. This is perfect for families that are always on the go!
- Employ the help of older children – Recommend that families invite their older children to read to their younger children. It gives the younger sibling the opportunity to listen and think about a story and motivates them to learn how to read like his or her older sibling, the older sibling time to practice reading and build confidence in his or her reading abilities, and it becomes a bonding experience for the two. Everyone wins!
- Make the most of waiting times – Offer the idea of families keeping a bag of books in the car so that when they are waiting for an eye appointment, haircut, or sibling’s basketball practice, they can make the most of this time.
- Share reading at the dinner table – Propose that families read aloud a short story, news article, or magazine article at the dinner table and discuss it as a family. This promotes good family discussions, exposure to different types of texts, and shows kids that reading is a priority in the family.
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- a list of seasonal picture books for each month of the year
- blank book lists for you to record your own titles
- printable reading logs for your students
- print and go monthly reading challenge charts
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