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April 2, 2018

3 Ways to Fit Read-Alouds Into Your Class Day

By Juan Gonzalez
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    As a teacher I have learned to become extremely flexible, yet there is one thing in my classroom that I consider to be sacred and must never be disturbed. This is the time I spend reading to my students: our read-aloud time.

    What I know for sure is that read-alouds are a powerful way to build readers, a reading community, and a love for reading. When I talk about read-alouds with teachers, they often say things like  "I can’t find the time,” or “How do you read so many books?” With a little planning and creativity, we can all make read-alouds a priority in our classrooms.

    Three Ways to Have More Read-Alouds

    1. Write it Into Your Plans

    When I plan my classroom schedule, I always include our read-aloud time as one of my classroom components. This helps me to be intentional with my planning and book selections. If it’s already embedded into your day, it becomes part of your routine. At the minimum, I plan for at least 10 minutes of reading a day.

    This is a screenshot of my lesson plan that shows the read aloud worked into our day:

    Here are a few ideas for creating other opportunities to share stories:

    • Start and/or end your day with a read-aloud.
    • If your lesson or day starts falling apart (it happens to all of us), bring the class back together by sharing a book.
    • Share stories during dismissal. If students leave during a reading, encourage them to pick up the book and finish it on their own at later date.

    2. Find Books That Align With Your Curriculum

    Curriculum is something that isn’t always in our control as classroom teachers. This means that sometimes we have to use resources that do not allow for daily read-alouds to be part of the classroom norms.

    To help bring more books into your curriculum, find ones that coincide with the teaching that is already in place. For example, if you are expected to use a basal reader and the weekly story is a fiction piece with a focus on character development and traits, find picture books that will add to this learning. Sharing multiple stories will benefit the readers by allowing them to see how they can apply the reading skill they're learning to various texts.

    Chapter books are fantastic read alouds because they provide multiple story arcs that lead to great discussions and teaching points.

    3. Use Read-Alouds to Address Issues

    Maybe your students are having a tough time getting along as a classroom community, or there is friction on the playground. Whatever the issue is, there is a book for it! Sharing books that provide windows for possible solutions to our problems show growing readers the value of reading. Rather than lecturing students on what they should do, I use books to guide these discussions. These talks might not be in our standards, but they are critical to the betterment of the student experience.

    Believe in the power of a read-aloud. There is plenty of research that proves its value. Now you just have to make it happen. Once you do, you’ll see the changes in the reading culture of your classroom.

    Favorite Read-Alouds

    Below are five of my current favorite read-alouds that I’ve shared with readers this year. These books are great for pleasure reading and can be used as resources for instruction too. Click on the books to find more information about each story.

    Postcards from camp by Simms Taback

    Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors

    The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

    Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream

    by Crystal Hubbard

    Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner

    Do you have a favorite read aloud? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram! Happy reading!

    As a teacher I have learned to become extremely flexible, yet there is one thing in my classroom that I consider to be sacred and must never be disturbed. This is the time I spend reading to my students: our read-aloud time.

    What I know for sure is that read-alouds are a powerful way to build readers, a reading community, and a love for reading. When I talk about read-alouds with teachers, they often say things like  "I can’t find the time,” or “How do you read so many books?” With a little planning and creativity, we can all make read-alouds a priority in our classrooms.

    Three Ways to Have More Read-Alouds

    1. Write it Into Your Plans

    When I plan my classroom schedule, I always include our read-aloud time as one of my classroom components. This helps me to be intentional with my planning and book selections. If it’s already embedded into your day, it becomes part of your routine. At the minimum, I plan for at least 10 minutes of reading a day.

    This is a screenshot of my lesson plan that shows the read aloud worked into our day:

    Here are a few ideas for creating other opportunities to share stories:

    • Start and/or end your day with a read-aloud.
    • If your lesson or day starts falling apart (it happens to all of us), bring the class back together by sharing a book.
    • Share stories during dismissal. If students leave during a reading, encourage them to pick up the book and finish it on their own at later date.

    2. Find Books That Align With Your Curriculum

    Curriculum is something that isn’t always in our control as classroom teachers. This means that sometimes we have to use resources that do not allow for daily read-alouds to be part of the classroom norms.

    To help bring more books into your curriculum, find ones that coincide with the teaching that is already in place. For example, if you are expected to use a basal reader and the weekly story is a fiction piece with a focus on character development and traits, find picture books that will add to this learning. Sharing multiple stories will benefit the readers by allowing them to see how they can apply the reading skill they're learning to various texts.

    Chapter books are fantastic read alouds because they provide multiple story arcs that lead to great discussions and teaching points.

    3. Use Read-Alouds to Address Issues

    Maybe your students are having a tough time getting along as a classroom community, or there is friction on the playground. Whatever the issue is, there is a book for it! Sharing books that provide windows for possible solutions to our problems show growing readers the value of reading. Rather than lecturing students on what they should do, I use books to guide these discussions. These talks might not be in our standards, but they are critical to the betterment of the student experience.

    Believe in the power of a read-aloud. There is plenty of research that proves its value. Now you just have to make it happen. Once you do, you’ll see the changes in the reading culture of your classroom.

    Favorite Read-Alouds

    Below are five of my current favorite read-alouds that I’ve shared with readers this year. These books are great for pleasure reading and can be used as resources for instruction too. Click on the books to find more information about each story.

    Postcards from camp by Simms Taback

    Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors

    The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

    Catching the Moon: The Story of a Young Girl's Baseball Dream

    by Crystal Hubbard

    Marvelous Cornelius by Phil Bildner

    Do you have a favorite read aloud? Let me know in the comments below or on Instagram! Happy reading!

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