Read-aloud stories have the power to captivate kids at any age—you probably still remember phrases from the treasured titles that your parents and teachers once read to you. Have you ever glanced up at your students while you were in the midst of a magical tale from a foreign land or a swashbuckling adventure? What did you see? Eyebrows furled in thought? Eyes wide, transfixed by the story? Minds churning as they process what’s happening and what might happen next?
Read-aloud stories are so much more than a literacy-building tool; if used correctly, they can create a framework that will not only boost academic achievement but also promote a love of learning that will go beyond your students’ school years. Here are five ways you can use read-aloud books to infuse students with a zest for literature that is so vital to academic success.
Build Critical Thinking Skills.
Use read-aloud literature to help your students learn to solve problems. Pause mid-story to ask your students how they would proceed if they were the main character. Or, use plot maps or conflict charts to help assess the best solution to the problem presented in the book.
Go Beyond Reading.
Encourage active participation in the story by including listening, speaking, thinking, and response writing activities, such as enacting a scene from the book, brainstorming ways to solve the main character’s conflict, having partners share a personal story that relates to the main character’s choices, or asking students to respond in writing to a prompt/question that relates to the story.
Introduce Your Students to New Authors.
Read literary works from diverse authors so that your students can be exposed to various voices, cultures, places and themes—and through that exposure, can start to build a framework around their own viewpoints.
Explore all facets of your classroom literature by utilizing technology in your lessons. Go online and find related videos, writing prompts, images and more.
Provide Next Steps.
Don’t just stop with one story. Instead, provide your students with access to additional books and materials that explore similar or related topics and encourage them to read, to explore, and to learn.
What read-aloud books make your students’ eyes go wide and their mouths hang open?