So you are ready to start reading aloud to your students…but what book do you choose?? Finding a good read-aloud book can be daunting. There are so many good ones to choose! So, I have 5 tips for how to pick a read-aloud book for your classroom.
Before I dive in, I wanted to let you know that you can watch or listen to this information in my YouTube video below:
Last week I shared how to plan for a read-aloud (LINK HERE), so in this blog post I want to give you a few ways to pick a book that your students are sure to love!
1. What is your purpose?
When choosing a read aloud book, the first thing that you want to do is think about your purpose for the read-aloud. It can be one of a few things:
- an example of a reading or writing skill
- to teach a concept, in social studies or science, for example
All of these are good times to share a book with your students! And they all require different approaches to selecting a book. In this post, however, I am going to focus mainly on read-alouds for enjoyment.
2. Class Interests
One of the best ways to choose a book for a read-aloud is to think about what your students are interested in. Sharing stories about things that they enjoy will definitely increase their engagement. Here are a few things to think about:
- What are some hobbies that they enjoy?
- What do they do outside of school?
- What are their favorite subjects or activities in school?
- What authors do they enjoy?
- What genre is their favorite?
How do you find out the answers to these questions? Ask them!
I also recommend, at the end of the week, reflecting on the read-alouds that you did that week. Which books really engaged the students? Which ones did they talk about after the book was finished? Which ones lost their attention? This will guide you towards picking read-alouds for the future.
When choosing books for your class read-alouds, it is important to provide both mirrors and windows for your students. They need to be able to see themselves reflected on the pages of the books that you share together. They also should be exposed to other cultures and lifestyles. Read-alouds are a great way to do this!
The next way I pick a read-aloud book is through recommendations – from all sorts of people! I ask colleagues which books their classes enjoyed. I chatted with the librarian (at both the school and local library) about their recommendations for books to share in my classroom.
Utilizing social media for book ideas is helpful too! There are lots of teachers sharing book recommendations on Instagram (check out #colorfulapplebooks). And hop on to Pinterest to search for a book that fits a certain theme or topic.
Another place for book recommendations? Your students! They LOVE to share the books they are reading with you. These turn into great read-alouds for the whole class!
4. Brand New Books!
My favorite way to pick a read-aloud book is to find ones that were just published. There is nothing more exciting than sharing a brand new book with your students!
Head over to our Read-Aloud Facebook group, where I share newly released books every week!
5. Connect it to Learning
The last way to choose a read-aloud book is to connect it to what you are learning. Read-alouds are a great time to introduce new authors, genres or concepts that you are teaching in class.
Since we are focusing on books for enjoyment, though, I suggest not using this time to plan a lot of discussion questions or teaching points. Your students will, however, make those connections on their own. And this is even more powerful!
Since these books are for you to read-aloud to your students, you can easily check them out of the school or local library. You could even borrow them from a colleague!
If you are looking to add books to your library, however, be sure to check out my blog post on how to get classroom books for cheap!
Want to save these tips for later? Pin the image below!