Teachers spend hours upon hours trying to find ways to get students to be active in the classroom. Many times, only a few students are eager to participate. However, teachers want all students to share, discuss, and collaborate. This is why they are always looking for ways to create exciting, hands-on lessons. For example, interactive read alouds make a fantastic way to combine a story and learning! Thankfully, there are great engagement strategies for an IRA to ensure each student maximizes their learning!
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Interactive Read Aloud
When implementing an interactive read aloud, it is essential to remember that students are interacting with multiple aspects. This includes interacting with the text, the teacher, and peers. However, students need to know you want them to talk! So, you are inviting conversation from before you start reading all the way to the end.
Engagement Strategies Implementation
Before diving into the engagement strategies, it is crucial to remember that an interactive read aloud is fully planned. So, you know which questions you’re going to ask and which engagement strategies for an IRA you’re going to use.
Strategy 1: Think Aloud
A think aloud is sharing your thinking aloud with students. You show them what is going on in your mind as you read the story. Specifically, this includes your thoughts, reactions, and connections. By making your thinking public, you’re showing students how to make meaning of their reading. In other words, you’ll ask your students to watch you as you model what you do while reading. This shows them how skillful readers think. By doing this, students are engaged in not only the story but in how you are reacting to the story as well. So, you’ll show them how you activate your background knowledge and ask questions as you read to help you understand. You will also show how you draw conclusions.
By modeling your thinking, kids start understanding and internalizing what they need to do when reading independently. You might share your questions or areas where you’re confused. Additionally, you’re going to show them how you activate and connect to your background knowledge, and you are also going to model how you use different reading strategies to help you understand the book. Honestly, there is so much thinking aloud in an interactive read aloud!
Strategy 2: Turn and Talk
A turn and talk is a brief conversation between two peers in response to a prompt you give. So, students will turn to their predetermined partner and share their answer to the prompt while their peer listens. It is essential to note that partners are predetermined. You decide who will be a partner with who ahead of time. It is crucial that you choose partners and you seat those students near each other. This will help to reduce interruption in your lesson and ensure students work well together.
One of the best parts of engagement strategies for an IRA surrounds all students participating. During a turn and talk, you give them the chance to turn and talk to just one person. This allows them to rehearse their thinking and feel more confident before sharing it aloud with the class. A turn and talk also enables students to process their learning while engaging in a meaningful conversation.
Strategy 3: Stop and Jot or Stop and Draw
When selecting engagement strategies for an IRA, they must focus on multiple modalities. So, this processing activity allows students to answer questions by writing them down or drawing a picture. This is often in response to a prompt that’s given. This is a quick check for understanding and promotes retention and comprehension.
Question prompts include:
What do you wonder? What do you think? What is the picture that you’re creating in your mind? How do you think the character feels? What was something that you found interesting? What was something that you could connect to?
To help ensure this engagement strategy goes smoothly, I recommend having them bring all their materials to the rug before the read aloud begins.
Strategy 4: Act It Out
This one can get tricky, and I don’t recommend using it too often. However, it allows students to move their bodies and increases engagement during a read aloud.
You can implement this strategy by prompting them to share what they think the characters are feeling or doing. For example, you can ask them to show what grumpy looks like. Or, show how a specific character is feeling at this moment. This helps them connect with the story without getting distracted.
Strategy 5: Hand Signals
This one is similar to Act It Out. You use small movements with students’ hands to show their understanding of the story. For example, you can ask a yes or no question. If it’s a yes, students can give a thumbs up. If it’s a no, they can give a thumbs down. You can even do this by instructing them to hold up 1, 2, or 3 fingers based on the question. Or, you can use hand signals to represent specific indications. Again, this is a quick check for understanding. It will help you move quickly through the story without losing student focus.
Strategy 6: Create an Anchor Chart Together
Engagement strategies for an IRA bring enjoyment to lessons filled with learning. In this strategy, the entire class creates an interactive read aloud anchor chart together. So, you’re going to prep the chart ahead of time. This includes an outline and maybe some headings or questions for students to answer. Then, students can come up to the anchor chart during the lesson and write their responses.
When creating an anchor chart together, it’s not just something you made and hung up on. Instead, it’s been a community-building activity where everyone interacts with each other.
For a great reminder on the engagement strategies for an IRA, check out this FREEBIE!
These engagement strategies for an IRA truly make a read aloud interactive. They allow students to internalize and connect with the book and lesson. By planning which engagement strategies to use in advance, implementing them will be seamless while learning will soar!
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Be sure to save this pin to your favorite read alouds board on Pinterest! You’ll be able to come back to this lesson plan when you are ready to read it aloud with your students.