Reading aloud to children of all ages is so important. Some teachers and families don’t make time for read aloud because of busy schedules, lack of books, or because their kids can already read independently. If that sounds familiar, here are some read aloud tips to make this time work in the classroom or at home.
Read Aloud Tips
Here are a few read aloud tips for you (in no particular order).
I think being consistent is so important when it comes to reading books to kids. There should be a chunk of time dedicated to the read aloud every single day. However, to keep things interesting, you can change things up. If you always read at the end of the day, surprise your kids with a morning book share. Let your kids choose a comfy spot rather than always sitting on the story carpet or at their desks. When the weather cooperates, take your kids outside. You might also try turning down the lights. No matter where or how you choose to read, the read aloud is still the ultimate focus.
How do you choose the right book to read aloud? Look for books that represent the kids in your classroom, but also introduce your students to characters who aren’t just like them. I like to choose a good mix of new releases and old favorites to share and find a healthy balance of picture books and chapter books. Sometimes I will share a book that introduces students to a new author or character so they can look for more books to enjoy on their own after the read aloud.
Choosing the right book to read aloud doesn’t need to be a daunting task. There are so many teachers and librarians out there sharing new books every single day. In fact, I share picture books for kids on my Instagram page frequently. Here are just a few other favorite IG accounts and hashtags for books: @diversereads @thetututeacher @librarymombooks @thebookwrangler @hereweread @ramonarecommends #classroombookaday
Please remember that you don’t have to spend a fortune to build up your book collection. Here are 10 ways to build your classroom library.
Please read the book ahead of time. You need to know the content, message, new vocabulary, and where to stop so students can think and make predictions. Not every book needs an academic task paired with it, but you’ll want to be prepared for any questions your students may have.
If you are a teacher sharing a chapter book read aloud, you need to decide ahead of time if you will leave that read aloud for your guest teacher or not. My students did NOT like when I did this and they would beg for me to read the chapter again. So when I knew I would be out, I would leave a picture book instead.
It’s OK to Ask for Help
Your students want to hear and see you reading to them. However, sometimes teachers and parents need a little help. There will be days when your voice needs a break. That’s when it’s time to reach for an online storybook. I love using Storyline Online. This site uses actors to read popular children’s books aloud while showing the illustrations.
Another idea is to invite guest readers or mystery readers to your classroom. These can be relatives, former students, the principal, community members, and more! This is a great way to keep students engaged and looking forward to read aloud time.
For families at home with access to technology, reach out to a relative for a bedtime story video call. It’s a great way to stay in touch with family members who live far away.
If you have a busy schedule, I recommend looking into audiobooks. This is a great way to get some reading time in as you drive your kids to and from activities.
That’s right – just have fun with it! Not every book needs a follow-up lesson or activity. Some books are just meant to be read for fun. If you are required to tie lessons or activities to your read alouds, try reading the book by itself on the first day. Then revisit the book with a follow-up lesson or activity the next day.
Remember, reading is a time for enjoyment. Do the voices. Get animated. Show expression on your face as you read. Get into it and have fun!
Kids need to see that adults enjoy books, too. When they see you having fun with reading, that excitement is contagious!
I hope these read aloud tips are helpful. If you have a tip I missed, I’d love to hear it!
Need more reading recommendations? Be sure to check out all of my Book Lists Organized by Topic.