Time is the never-ending struggle in the classroom. I hear it over and over again and trust me, I understand the difficulty of fitting everything into a single day. Sadly, when the to-dos begin to outnumber the minutes of the day, teachers often cut out their read aloud time. Yet, read alouds are too valuable to eliminate and truly should be the last thing to go (read about 6 Ways to Fit in Your Read Aloud HERE). I believe that readers are born on the laps of their parents and on the carpets of their teachers. There are countless benefits of reading books out loud to students of all ages!
Here are some of the benefits of reading books aloud to your class:
- Model a love of reading—Books can and should be read for fun! This is an important value that I want my students to understand. Our students need to see us enjoying books, laughing while reading, and talking about books, because the value of reading is priceless. Stories change us, characters stick with us, and books unite us. My students know that I LOVE books and that gets them excited to read too!
- Model important reading habits—When parents ask me how they can help their striving readers I often ask them, “How often do you read to your child?” Reading aloud to our kids is so important for them to see important reading habits modeled. I didn’t learn to teach by being thrown into the classroom by myself. I learned to teach by being in classrooms with experienced teachers—they modeled great teaching for me and I learned from their example. Our readers are the same way! When you read aloud to your students you are modeling important reading habits like fluency, questioning, making connections, and critical thinking skills.
- Engage students in interactive learning— I have found that all ages love to be read to! There is something magical that happens during a read aloud—stories have a special way of captivating our minds and often our hearts. Books can be used to teach all subjects, and work great as an activating strategy for a lesson. You can also do strategies such as choral readings or stop for partner discussions to engage your learners throughout your read aloud.
- Introduce students to different genres and authors—When you incorporate a variety of genres and authors into your read alouds you are expanding your readers’ world! Thanks to your read alouds, they might just find a new author or series that gets them hooked on reading.
- Vocabulary acquisition—Vocabulary is best taught in context and read alouds are a perfect way to expose your students to rich words. Picture books are not just for younger students. They can and should be used with older kids too as they are often filled with vibrant language. Students need several meaningful interactions with a word before they can acquire new vocabulary, so instead of cutting out your read aloud use it as a mentor text for vocabulary acquisition.
- Allow for higher level text and comprehension—One of the best features of a read aloud is that you can read a book that is above your student’s independent reading level. There are five components to reading—phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Students that struggle with comprehension are often struggling with one or more of the first four components. So, when you read books aloud you are able to help your students be more successful with comprehension and dive even deeper into the text as you guide their instruction.
About the author
Becca Foxwell is an energetic first grade teacher whose heart comes alive in the classroom! She is a TPT Teacher-Author, speaker and presenter, and 2016 Pennsylvania Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Foxwell is passionate about instilling a love of learning within the hearts of her students and believes that learning should be fun and engaging as we prepare our students for 21st century success! You can learn more about Mrs. Foxwell at: http://www.foxwellforest.com/