What is an interactive read aloud?
An interactive read aloud is a planned and purposeful read aloud. It encourages both deeper thinking and respectful discussion. It is whole group instruction in which the teacher reads aloud a text and occasionally pauses for discussion. The focus is on listening comprehension.
What is the goal?
An interactive read aloud models the reading process. It guides students in what active thinking while reading should look and sound like. It develops background knowledge and provides vocabulary instruction.
As the teacher reads, the students are engaged. They are listening, talking with each other and jotting down their thinking. This text-based discussion helps children construct meaning.
So, what does an interactive read aloud look like? Here is a basic structure:
- Introduce – we start by introducing the book. Show the class the cover of the book. Share the author and illustrator. Then, activate your students’ background knowledge to engage interest in the text.
- Read aloud – next the teacher reads the book aloud. As you do so, model thinking aloud. Then provide time for guided practice. Address focus skills, make connections, identify key story elements and teach new vocabulary during this time.
- Discuss – while you are reading, give students time to talk with each other and with the class. This allows them to practice the strategies that you have modeled.
Benefits of an interactive read aloud
One of the most powerful ways to teach children to think is to teach them to engage in thoughtful discussions. Interactive read alouds allow you to engage the students in your class who likely have a variety of goals in guided, whole-class practice.
They provide an opportunity for you to share a text with the whole class and for students to discuss the piece. This meaningful conversation gives students:
- a chance to work on their speaking and listening skills
- the opportunity to deepen their understanding of texts
- a way to engage in meaningful social interactions around books
This practice show students that readers don’t just do or think about one thing at a time. As a result, when readers pay attention and think about the words and ideas in the text, they carry on an inner conversation with the text. The thinking we do in collaboration becomes internalized.
In essence, an interactive read aloud supports curriculum, meets standards and guide comprehension.
To save you some time, I have interactive read alouds that are already done for you! Just choose the topic that you are working on in class and you are all set!
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