Read aloud is an important component of effective literacy instruction that improves listening,
comprehension, fluency, vocabulary skills, attitudes about reading, and student ability to visualize text. Read aloud facilitate
comprehension and supports visualization of the thinking process for all students, especially beginning and intermediate English
Language Learners and special education students. The Commission on Reading’s report (1985) “Becoming a Nation
of Readers” (as cited in Trelease, 2004) states that reading aloud to students is the “single most important activity
for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading” (para. 7).
In the read aloud strategy, a teacher sets aside time to read orally to students on a consistent
basis. The selections should be above students’ independent reading level and at their listening level. Read aloud allows
the teacher to model fluent and expressive reading, to think aloud, and to provide interactions with a variety of texts. Teachers
should increase the length and complexity of narrative and expository text over time.
The role of the teacher is:
• To pre-read a selection thoroughly to become
familiar with the content and structure prior to the lesson.
• To locate and plan meaningful places in the
selection during reading for discussion, prediction, and making connections to other texts or to related personal experiences.
• To read a variety of selections (including
narrative and informational texts) in all content areas.
• To use carefully selected picture books as
a tool for building language experience.
• To model fluent and expressive reading (possibly
through gestures and dramatic voices).
• To model engaged reading by thinking aloud,
making connections, and using comprehension strategies.
• To create a literacy-rich environment that
encourages an appreciation for reading.
• To provide opportunities for collaborative
conversation and written response to the selection.
The role of the student is:
• To listen actively with purpose as the teacher
reads aloud and models fluency.
• To engage in collaborative conversations with
• To retell content from narrative and expository
text and demonstrate recall of main ideas and details.
• To respond by making connections, summarizing,
inferring, synthesizing, and critiquing through discussion or writing.
The observer will see:
• The teacher and/or students setting a purpose
• The teacher thinking aloud while reading a
selection and encouraging students to make predictions and inferences.
• The teacher highlighting the features of the
selection including the author, title, illustrator, text structure,
illustrations, graphs, tables, and captions.
• The teacher incorporating a variety of texts
including novels, picture books, magazine and newspaper articles, primary sources, and informational texts.
• The students and teacher engaging in collaborative
conversations about text using comprehension strategies.
Calkins, L. (2001). The art of teaching reading. Boston: Addison Wesley Longman.
Herrell, A. (2000). Fifty strategies for English Language Learners. Columbus, OH: Merrill Publishers.
Trelease, J. (2004). The read-aloud handbook. Retrieved on June 6, 2004, from http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/rah_chpt1_p1.html
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