Whole-Class Reading Instruction: Read-Alouds and Storia
The benefits of using Storia's read-to-me feature for read-alouds, as well as quick tips and lists of books that work well in read-aloud settings
- Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8
In This Article
As the classroom teacher, you serve as the primary role model of an engaged, proficient reader, and the read-aloud portion of a reading lesson is where you can model reading skills.
Using the read-to-me feature, you may read a book to your class purely for the “joy of reading,” to start a discussion on a relevant topic, or to build students’ background knowledge about a new subject.
Most importantly, reading aloud helps students develop a love of books and an understanding of the value of reading.
- Picture books are not only for primary grade students. Many picture books contain complex themes and sophisticated artwork, and upper elementary students benefit greatly from hearing them read aloud. Picture books also provide short texts that allow students to grapple with an entire arc of a story in a single sitting and enable a lesson about a specific comprehension skill.
- Choose books with complex illustrations, original text layouts, or other highly visual features to read with Storia. By projecting your story on a screen or interactive whiteboard, Storia will allow your entire class, and not just those students in the front row, to "get close” to the book.
- Choose books to read aloud that are at a higher reading level than books students could read independently. By reading higher-level books aloud, teachers can model reading, teach vocabulary words, and build content-area knowledge while the class works together to build comprehension.
“My students adore the Geronimo Stilton series, but when I would read the books to them aloud, they missed out on the quirky fonts and detailed illustrations interspersed in the text. When I projected the Storia version of the book, they loved that they could now analyze all of the visual details while I read aloud to them.”
- Keep the e-books you plan on reading aloud to your class on a separate Storia bookshelf called “Read-to-Me Books” or “Teacher Books.” This will prevent your students from reading these books independently.
- Project Storia onto an interactive whiteboard or other screen. You can project either from your Windows PC or iPad. But if you are projecting from the iPad, make sure you are using the correct cable for the best display results. And make sure all of your students are able to see the projected books.
- Sit facing your students during Storia read-aloud time. If you cannot sit in front of your students and still use your computer or iPad, assign a student to turn the pages on your Storia device for you. This can even be a reward!
- As with a regular read-aloud, plan to stop at several spots in the book to model a “think-aloud” about the text. You may want to use the highlighter or the notes feature to mark the places where you will stop. Older students can use the notes tool to leave think-alouds for their classmates.
- Model how you would infer the meaning of complex vocabulary using context clues. You can then use the Storia dictionary to verify the definition.
- Leave time during a read-to-me book for students to “turn and talk” to their peers about the book, to respond dramatically or in writing to the book, and to share their opinions about the book. You may want to model this using a book with enriched activities, especially video. The video enrichment may lend itself to “turn and talk” discussion.
- Set up a chart-paper easel next to your whiteboard so you can record students' responses, charting their ideas while reading a Storia book. There is no rule that says you can’t blend “old-school” teaching techniques with newer technologies!
“I try to keep a ‘paper’ copy of each Storia e-book I use with my class in my classroom library. My students enjoy revisiting these books in another format, and I like that it reinforces the message that reading is reading! I have a special basket in my library specifically for the e-books that I’ve used with my class.”
With thousands of Storia e-books available, there are many, many possibilities to read aloud books that will be just right for your students. These two brief lists capture some of the books in the Storia library that are very well suited to a classroom read-aloud setting.
- How Will I Get to School This Year by Jerry Pallotta and David Biedrzycki
A fun, back-to-school read that encourages creativity and questioning.
- The Wildest Brother by Cornelia Funke
A warm-hearted story about the fraught, yet loving, relationship between a brother and sister. The comical illustrations and creative text lend themselves to a unit about families or get-to-know you discussions.
- Alphabet Rescue by Audrey and Bruce Wood
Lowercase letters prove their usefulness as they eventually rescue their uppercase counterparts in this colorful and creative alphabet romp.
- The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill
Stop playground squabbles in their tracks with this book about one very bossy girl who eventually loses her edge when the new girl bravely befriends her.
- Wings by Christopher Myers
A deceptively simple story about children who don’t fit in. This book launches powerful discussions about such social and emotional themes as acceptance, courage, and strength of character.
- The Three Questions by Jon J. Muth
As much a philosophical exploration as a story, this book adapts a short story by Leo Tolstoy into a more child-friendly picture book. Compassion, introspection, and ethical thinking are the front-and-center themes. (Also see Zen Shorts by the same author.)
- Leo, The Snow Leopard by Craig and Isabella Hatkoff
Hook your students on nonfiction with this conservation narrative about an orphaned snow leopard in the mountains of Pakistan.