I love, love, love reading aloud to kids. I miss it more than I would have imagined.  Now, I do get to pop into my preschooler’s classroom and be the mystery reader every so often.  That is pretty wonderful!

Schedules are so tight nowadays, and more and more is being crammed onto your plate.  How can you get the most out of this precious time?
Choose your book carefully.
I always tried to choose books that I could pull into another content area.  It was nice to tie in a bit of science or social studies.  For example, Flat Stanley is a great read-aloud during your map unit.  Looking to expand kid’s vocabulary?  Check out My Father’s Dragon.  So fun and lots of words for kids to learn!
Choose your time carefully.
           We all know that certain times of the day are like wasted, black holes.  Settling in from recess? Stinky, sweaty time suck.  Coming in from lunch? Noisy, loud,  and often drama-filled in the upper grades. Packing up at the end of the day?  Bookbag and paper chaos! Schedule your read-aloud during these times to
force students to settle down and listen carefully. This is a great “transition” activity for students.  It is also a motivator- most kids LOVE being read to will hurry to get to the next chapter.
 Model, model, model.
Reading aloud is the perfect time for modeling fluency and sneaking in a think aloud. Change your voice to match the characters, lower your voice during serious moments, and watch your kids get sucked in.
This is a perfect opportunity for students to discuss and debate with higher-level text.  Many student’s listening comprehension is WELL above their own reading comprehension.  Capitalize on this! Have students explain their thinking and predict what they think will happen next.  I don’t know about you, but I love to talk
about a good book with my girlfriends! Encourage your kids to do so, too!
Let it be the “gateway drug.”
You know, a happy, not-illegal, gateway to fun times and learning. Find a fantastic series you know your kids would love?  Read the first one, and watch your kids get hooked! This is especially a great practice at the beginning of the year.  First of all, most students don’t have a long attention span. You will want to choose shorter books – and many of these they can read on their own. Secondly, it gives kids a “bank” of desirable books for their book boxes.

Use it to maximize your reading mini-lesson.
Consider using your reading aloud time to read aloud the mentor text for your reading mini-lesson.  This can keep your mini-lessons, well, mini while still using authentic text. This can be an especially effective strategy if you are “between” chapter book for your read-aloud, and aren’t ready to start a new one.

Does that sound about right?  How do you get the most out of your read aloud?

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