Teaching Techniques: Reading Aloud, Artfully!
Ten ways to help you make the most of your story-sharing experiences
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2
1. Preview the book.
Your storytime will be much richer if you have read the book at least once beforehand. This will also ensure that there are no "surprises" that might trip you up as you read.
2. Prepare a comfy and roomy read-aloud area.
It's important that your area is large enough that everyone can sit and see comfortably. You might want to create a special "Storytime Magic Carpet" that gets rolled out for stories.
3. Introduce the book.
Look at the book cover together and ask children to guess what they think the book might be about. Name the author and illustrator to reinforce the concept that people write and draw books.
4. Notice how you hold the book.
Children need to see the illustrations — so be sure that the book is wide open and held to your side so that you can read the story and share it at the same time.
5. Give it all you've got!
Dramatic and fun sound effects, hand motions, facial expressions, and changes in tone invite children to become a part of the story with you.
6. Involve your listeners.
Give children a line to repeat, a hand motion, or a sound effect that they can add at the appropriate time.
7. Help children "see" the story.
Children who are attentive to the visual details of a book are learning how to use visual clues to get meaning from everything on the page. Point out details in illustrations and characterizations to help children become keen observers, and discuss what they notice.
8. Invite children to use their senses.
Help children imagine not only the sights in a story but the sounds, smells, tastes, physical sensations, and emotions, as well. Periodically, stop and ask children to pretend to use their senses to explore a part of the story: "Can you pretend to pet the puppy? How does the puppy feel? What do you think the characters hear? What do they smell?"
9. Develop ways to respond to questions.
Children love to ask questions while you are reading. Some questions are important and need to be answered right away so the child will understand the rest of the story. Other questions will be answered in the story itself. Stopping too often will break up the flow of the story.
10. Take time for discussion.
Children love to talk about a book you've just read. Use creative questions to encourage in-depth thinking and discussion.