Read Alouds: Making Meaning from the Beginning

By Eric Antuna on August 27, 2009
  • Grades: 1–2

The research goes back and forth about reading: should it be aloud, SSR, DEAR, reading for pleasure...it's as much one as it is the other (and seems there's as many acronyms, too!). In these few weeks we have been back to school, I have made a very conscious effort to read aloud any and every possible story, book, chapter, heading, letter, paragraph - you name it, I or we read it! And you know what?

The research goes back and forth about reading: should it be aloud, SSR, DEAR, reading for pleasure...it's as much one as it is the other (and seems there's as many acronyms, too!). In these few weeks we have been back to school, I have made a very conscious effort to read aloud any and every possible story, book, chapter, heading, letter, paragraph - you name it, I or we read it! And you know what? It's paying off.



Almost every day, I get a request from a student to have a story read to the class. I try to get to everyone's request, but as we all know, time is the ultimate factor. The most dazzling part is that some of my "lowest" readers are bringing in books that they really want to have read to them - perhaps there's no one that has enough English literacy to read to them or they just want to hear their favorite story read (yet again!) to them aloud.  

In addition to me reading, I have the "Person of the Day" read a story to the class. The Person of the Day is my helper for the day.  It makes it so much easier for me to have one person that changes daily do all my errands, passing of papers, changing of the calendar, and of course read a story to the class. Every child has a chance to do this, I just have my class list and put a paper clip on the day's current Person of the Day.

At first, when the Person of the Day reads, it's pretty intense, so I model it for a few days, doing all the "jobs" myself, then passing it to the person first on the list. When it's their turn to read, we all meet at the carpet and the person of the day gets to sit in the comfy chair and read aloud for 5 minutes (or 3 or 2 depending on what amount of time you have).  They get to read right after lunch - this helps me get the kids settled down and allows them to cool down from the 109 degree heat.

Getting them to have this excitement for reading is one of my main goals for my students.  If anyone has more ideas, please share!

I read, they read, we all read!  

Thanks!

Eric

Comments

Reading in between the class towards all students will help to improve their self confidence because many students are fear to speak freely in front of everybody because of lack of confidence.
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I love read alouds as well! You can do so much with a book - so many skills and be covered with a variety of students at many different levels. I teach special ed and I have three different grade levels at one time! They all have different academic needs but when it is time to read aloud, they all love it!

I wish that I had more students that could be the Person of the Day - they are 1st - 3rd grade and many of them are emergent or beginning readers. What I have done in the past is let them create their own "stories" and read them for the class. This way they can make it up as they go along and not be self-conscious that they are "reading it wrong" .

Great idea!!

Jessica

Jessica-

Great to hear! Thanks for the fantastic tip! I love it! That's a great idea for anyone in California who has ELLs as the CELDT has a section where students have to respond to a picture prompt and come up with a descriptive story that includes characters, setting, and a simple plot. Thanks for that tip!

-Eric

Hello Eric,

I absolutely love your idea of the "person of the Day" doing a read aloud for a few minutes. I teach fifth grade and have a "helper for the week" which is similar to your idea. I can't wait to try this with my students - it is a clever way to get shy sudents to read to their classmates. They also practice fluency too. Bravo!

Teri-

Thanks! I am so excited that you're going to try it in 5th grade! I think so many students need this and, yes, the shy students are nervous at first, but they do like it and actually DO it! Can't wait to hear how it goes! Good Luck!

-Eric

I'm currently a student right now, but enjoyed reading what you had to say. I loved your idea about the student of the day idea! I think it's great for students to have the opportunity and responsibility to be "in charge" for the day. I think this can be very beneficial for the students and can help them with many of their skills and allow them to become more comfortable in front of their peers or in group settings.

Kayla-

Thanks! I agree! Students look forward to being the Student of the Day so much that they plan for days deciding on which book to read and practicing it. Thanks for the comment and good luck in school!

-Eric

Love the person of the day idea.

We also do a lot of open narratives in which we share stories the students wrote themselves or kids bring in a photo or drawing and tell a story about it. This is less about reading and more about storytelling and then I tie it back to writing assignments during the year.

Jenny-

What a great idea! I love it! Having students bring in their own items and making that into a writing piece not only gives the class a topic, but also gives the students who bring in the photos or drawings a chance to share something about themselves!

Thanks for the ideas!

-Eric

Read Alouds are my favorite part of teaching! They really do encompass so many skills and I love to see each child's expressions as the stories are read...priceless. I love the Person of the Day idea. I should try that in my room! How do you identify that student for the day? Do they get anything cool like a crown or wand?

Mandy- Thanks for that fantastic comment! I really appreciate it! Yes, I do let the Person of the Day wear a crown that I found at a party store. I also found wizard wand at Target and another "magic reading wand" at the 99 Cents store (best 99 cents I ever spent!). But any pointer/special badge will work just fine with them.

If you have any ideas, please post!

Thanks! -Eric

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