I read an article titled: "Interactive read-alouds: Is there a common set of implementation practices?" (2004) The article is written about a study done with 25 expert teachers doing read-alouds with their students. The article showed seven things expert teachers consistently did when reading aloud to students. Today I want to write about those seven things expert teachers did to implement their read-alouds to students. The expert teachers chose books that were appropriate. They made sure the purpose for reading was clearly stated. The teachers were animated and expressive when reading. They stopped to ask questions. They were able to make connections for independent reading and writing. Here are each of the components explained.
The books selected for the read-aloud were purposefully chosen. The expert teacher took student interest, age appropriateness, and content into account when selections were made. They made sure to include books with rich vocabulary to further the impact of these read-alouds.
Preview and Practice:
The expert teacher read through the books they selected. While reading they practiced stopping points to model fluent reading and making stopping for questions a natural transition during reading. They were able to also stop to discuss difficult vocabulary that might otherwise mess up the flow of the story because student stop comprehending when they don't know or are unsure of the meaning of the word or words. These teachers also stopped to let students write those words in a vocabulary journal. The expert teachers knew when, where, and how to add animation and expression because of this pre-reading.
Clear Purpose Established:
Beginning with the book's introduction, the expert teachers clearly stated and restated the purpose for reading the selected book. It was very clear what the purpose for reading would be. The expert teachers used some of their planned stopping points to restate the purpose. These teachers also had anchor charts, word walls, or areas in their room that had evidence of the skill being previously taught and made sure to help the student focus on the purpose by referring to the charts or areas as well.
Fluent Reading Modeled:
It was very evident that the teachers had followed step two (read the book before hand) because they were able to fluently read the books to the students. Things like, mispronunciations were taken care of by this pre-reading. The flow of the story is flawless with practice and students get the full benefit of the read-aloud when the educator is prepared. Students also learn what fluent reading looks and sounds like.
Animation and Expression:
Each of the other components of effective interactive read-alouds need to be present for this component to have maximum effect. It is hard to measure animation and expression but when a teacher is prepared--by having pre-read the book--she knows when and what types of animations and expressions will bring home the purpose. You can show expression and animation during reading, like lowering or raising your voice with the correct intonation helps to keep students engaged with the text being read aloud.
Discussing the Text:
This is a strategy for uses before, during, and after the read-aloud to help students interact with the text. The article states that the expert teachers used a balance of efferent and aesthetic questions - efferent meaning, about details from the text and aesthetic meaning, making the text connect to the students' lives. Modeling good questions before, during, and after a read-aloud is a good way to show students how to ask themselves questions when they read. As teacher prepare for the read-aloud getting a good balance of these questions is a good way to reinforce the skill of questioning.
Independent Reading and Writing:
The expert teachers where able to connect what they had read to the students independent reading and writing time. They used ideas like, providing time for student to write in their journal about their favorite parts of the story, or creating an alternate ending to the story they heard. Students were also able to revisit vocabulary words and ideas that were written down during the reading. Some students were given independent reading time to read books that had the same or similar topics or themes. Some other students were also given the option to research other ideas related to the topic or purpose the expert teacher gave for the read-aloud.
To ensure that each of these components are effectively completed the article mentions that the expert teacher did things like place post-it notes with key questions, vocabulary words or ideas in the book where a reminder was needed.
The article ended with some questions for further research that kind of caught my attention as a possible dissertation topic or at least something to explore further. The questions were:
Thank you for reading. Feel free to leave me a comment.
Fisher, Douglas et al. "Interactive Read-Alouds: Is There A Common Set Of
Implementation Practices?". The Reading Teacher 58.1 (2004): 8-17. Web.
Pearl Garden is a doctoral candidate at Texas A&M- Commerce. Follow along as she chronicles her pursuit of her Ed. D in Supervision-Curriculum and Instruction- Elementary Education. Just know that these are the ramblings of a doc student and a lot of what you read is a first draft and will go through some rewrites.