Friday, May 27, 2016

Do I Really Have Time to Read Aloud Daily?

These were video clips from World Read Aloud Day 2013, of me reading aloud from The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (students filmed me).  I read aloud every day.  Even when I don't have time.  How do I justify this?  This year on World Read Aloud Day, I asked students to write a Quick Write in their notebooks on their thoughts about read aloud time.  Their answers helped me justify this daily practice...

What do you enjoy about reading aloud time and why do you think it's important?

- I enjoy having an experience with a teacher to point out things and get a much larger vocabulary. I think it helps bonds become closer. - Brayden

- It shows people new types of books they might never have known they liked.  - Kyle

- I think read alouds are important because you learn expression skills.  For example, if the sentence has an exclamation point at the end, you would say it excitedly. - Aaron

- I enjoy the different voices that Mrs. Mueller does for different characters and that she leaves us at cliffhangers. - Owen

- I enjoy how I can relax while my imagination is pumping the whole time we are reading.  - Hunter

- I like when you leave off at a cliffhanger because it makes me want to come back for more. - Darrell

- I enjoy read aloud time because when you're read aloud to, you may notice certain details you did not when you read to yourself.  I also enjoy it because my brain is tense, and I want to relax. - Sophia

- When someone reads aloud to you, you feel like you are truly in the character's world, almost like the Omnimax Theater. It's important to read aloud because sometimes children will read very fast and not experience any emotion or sympathy for the character when they read to themselves.  - Kayley

- I think that read aloud time is improtant because instead of reading silently, everyone can have the same experience.  Mrs. Mueller makes it fun by making different voices and saying them like the character would. - Nicole

- From the time we open the book to when we close it, every second is nerve-racking, thrilling, and overall, pretty darn fun! - Lauren

- I really enjoy read aloud because it's a chance to connect with everyone.  We can all rage with each other about Claire (Out of My Mind), the Miller (Rump), and Mam (The War That Saved My Life), and cry when Ada is beaten (The War That Saved My Life).  - Peyton

- I love read alouds!  What I most enjoy about it is the feeling you get when the person reading it makes expressions.  I also like how how you just get to listen; no headaches that make it impossible to read and no too tiny text. - Paige

- I enjoy read aloud time; I like responding and discussing what we think.  Discussing it gives you more ideas.  I think it is important because I definitely notice way more things than reading by myself.  - Megan

- I love to read silently, but reading aloud give you the opportunity to explore tones, voices, and enhance fluency skills.  - Jaidyn

- I think read aloud is important because people can talk to each other about the thoughts they have.  I think you can think about things in the story more when you are listening.  - Sam

- A teacher can almost always read better than a student, so the teacher can read more challenging books.  Hearing challenging books will improve students' reading ability overall.   - Maya

What makes a book good for a read aloud?

- A good read aloud has a mixture of emotions, lots of action, and characters I can relate to.  - Aaron

- A good read aloud is one that is very exciting.  Another good quality is to have parts when you can really imagine and visualize what is going on. - Sophia

- For a read aloud to be good, the reader has to be good! - Peyton

- Things that make a read aloud good: well, there is the reader, and they change voices from character to character and when they talk with you about the story.  - Megan

- I like when Mrs. Mueller reads aloud because she does the different voices and tones, and most importantly, she leaves us on cliff hangers... - Jaidyn

- A good read aloud is one that makes you think.  It also needs a mix of emotions like sadness, fear, love, happiness, etc.  It needs to be well-written and exciting.  - Sam

     If kids can't convince you to read aloud every day, maybe research will.  Richard L. Allington and Rachel E. Gabriel outline six elements of instruction that every child should experience every day in their article, "Every Child, Every Day".  Using Jim Release's and Wu & Samuels' research, they say, "Listening to an adult model fluent reading increases students' own fluency and comprehension skills, as well as expanding their vocabulary, background knowledge, sense of story, awareness of genre and text structure, and comprehension of the texts read."  They go on to say that few teachers above 1st grade read aloud to their students.  We can change that!  I can still remember my 7th grade English teacher reading aloud Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and my high school English teacher reading aloud A Day No Pigs Would Die.  It was impactful, even as an older student.  I've forgotten many of the day to day lessons and activities we did as English students, but I remember the read alouds.

     I look forward to daily read aloud time just as much as my students do.  On a rare occasion that we can't read aloud, I get loud protests!  It's a time they count on.  A time when we build community as well as vocabulary, background knowledge, text structure, and fluency.  When new students come into my class, the rest of the kids insist they read our read alouds so they can be part of all the references we make from those touchstone texts.  If you don't already read aloud daily as part of your classroom routine, try it out.  I daresay you'll love it, and so will your students!


  1. I'm with you. Holly! I read aloud every day to my students. In fact, I would like to add another daily read aloud time during PYP or math for next year, so I'll be working on that over the summer. I loved your students' responses to the questions you posed. I'm curious as to what my own students would say if I asked them similar questions.

  2. I made read aloud a priority this year and like your kids, mine loved it and would protest if we didn't have time. Once a child said, "Are we going to watch Pax today?" as thought reading aloud is like watching a movie. His slip made me realize the importance of a routine of reading aloud.