Wait…read alouds in upper elementary? Yes! Not only do the older kids enjoy listening to someone read (though they might not admit it), but it’s beneficial for them as well.
Benefits of read alouds in upper elementary
We want our students to see the true joy in reading. By reading aloud to our students we share with them how wonderful books can truly be. Choosing books to read aloud gives them the chance to hear books that they might not have picked out on their own.
Reading books together has the potential to open up amazing discussions with our class. I always make sure to prepare read-aloud discussion questions ahead of time, in order to jump start those conversations.
Discussing the important topics in these novels creates a sense of community among your class. Your students will come together to cheer on their favorite characters as the face difficult choices.
Additionally, hearing an adult read aloud helps us model fluent reading for our students. Even though most of them have been reading on their own for a few years, it’s important that they still hear someone read fluently. While you are reading aloud, students are practicing their listening and reading comprehension.
What books should I read aloud?
Reading aloud the first book in a series is a great way to get students interested in reading more books. Once they are invested in the characters in a novel, they’ll be eager to pick up the next one!
Addressing important life topics, such as bullying, family or disabilities through books can be a game changer in the classroom. Using read-alouds to approach difficult topics can make them easier to talk about.
Should you read picture books or novels to big kids? Both! Older students still love picture books and they can have an impact on your students’ lives.
When choosing books to read aloud to your students, it’s important to have a variety of genres, topics and authors. This way you’ll be appeal to all your students and even introduce new favorites.
Read aloud management
Think about where you want your students to sit during your read aloud time. Even big kids like to sit on the rug! Or do you have flexible seating in your room, which would allow students to get comfortable while they listen to the story? If students are at their desks, you may want to have kids move closer to the front to help them stay focused.
Plan for discussion. After each chapter, your students are going to want to talk about the book! I plan discussion questions ahead of time so that I am prepared to start a conversation.
Be consistent! Find a few minutes every day to read aloud to your students, especially if you are deep in a novel. Students will be more invested in the read aloud if you dedicating time to it every single day.
Choose high-interest books. Think about what your students like (it’s going to change every year!). What do they want to hear about? Do the characters in your book reflect their lives? Can they connect to what is happening in the story? By creating windows and doors for your students, you’ll be pulling them into the story even more!
Looking for specific books to read aloud? Check out my favorite read aloud novels for big kids!