That’s right. You read that title correctly. If you know my work with teachers or my work with students, you’re probably thinking the title just can’t be true.
Well, it’s true. I haven’t done our picture book read aloud in days… My students have taken over! They are now taking the initiative to bring in a picture book from the library or home to read aloud to the class nearly everyday. In fact, I’m now scheduling ahead with readers because so many fifth graders want to do the read aloud!
Why are my students taking the initiative to read aloud to the class? I suspect it’s because read aloud is just a way of life in our classroom. No rewards, points, or extra kudos are given for reading aloud. It’s just what we do. It’s just who we are. There is nothing quite like the feeling of sharing a book you love with others.
Committing to reading aloud every single day is perhaps the best promise I made to my students and even myself this school year. The simple practice of reading aloud a different picture book every single day with my class has changed us in ways that I did not even expect.
Earlier this week, I had the privilege of spending an afternoon with elementary teachers in the Los Gatos School District to share the benefits of read aloud. We spent two hours engaging in a few read alouds, discussing our thinking and ideas, sharing great books with each other, and committing/recommitting to this powerful classroom practice. It was a refreshing and invigorating way to spend the afternoon after our collective teaching days. The next day, we all walked back into our classrooms excited about the reading and discussions to come!
Here are ten of the points we discussed in depth at our session earlier this week…
1- Read aloud sets us up to model a love of reading.
2- Each read aloud provides every student in class a shared experience with every single other student in class.
3- Read Aloud provides a predictable context for laughing, thinking, and learning together.
5- Read aloud gives each of our students the opportunity to feel validated and visible when we make the commitment to ensure they are each represented in our book choices.
6- Read aloud together paired with discussion and modeling of strategies provides access to more complex texts and ideas- especially with social studies and science concepts that may be new or unfamiliar.
7- Read aloud is the perfect introduction or way to kick off independent reading for the day. Offering visibility of the decision making process that a reader goes through is a great way to teach a quick lesson before students set off to read on their own. Read aloud and talk makes the often invisible process of reading and meaning making visible.
8- Read aloud has the potential to give students leadership roles and decision making power in the classroom when teachers invite students to choose and share class read aloud books.
9- Read aloud is an instructional method that appeals to all students of all ages, from pre-kindergarten through college level learners.
10- Read aloud is a joyful and reflective part of our day everyday! Simply put, we need more joy and reflection in all of our classrooms and schools.
Let’s continue the conversation! I’d love to hear your thoughts on read aloud and chat more.
View all of our classroom read alouds so far this year here…