As I was beginning to prepare for my presentation on read alouds I found this book by Lester Laminack titled: "Unwrapping the Read Aloud: Making Every Read Aloud Intentional and Instructional". Laminack states that we should re-envision the read aloud as a means of instruction. (page 18) I take that even further and say, lets make the read aloud a good means to break away from out dependence on the Basel text we use in our classrooms. The read aloud can be a reliable means of supplementing the use of the Basel and keep the classroom a text rich place for students to learn a love for literature. To do this we must be intentional about how we choose, how we plan and prepare, and how we target specific skills when we conduct a read aloud. In his book Laminack mentions 11 read aloud experiences. He says that read alouds:
To make the read aloud intentional, we must plan, prep, read the book ahead of time, and consider the skills and concepts we want to teach when we choose a book. The author states that "we can make the read aloud intentional when we purposely select texts and times with the intent to inspire, invest, and instruct." (Laminack, 19) The right book can create a love of literature in children. It can lend itself to the perfect opportunity to develop key concepts in language, science, social studies, and math. It can even be used for instruction. If you plan effectively, students can learn exactly what you are expecting them to learn- being intentional is key- knowing our students and planning lessons that include read alouds that match targeted skills is just another way to optimize your instruction.
Other than being expressive and full of energy when reading aloud you really don't need any special skills to do a read aloud. Start out with your favorite authors and illustrators and then move on to explore other authors and illustrators. It is also a good idea to explore other genres- for example postmodern picturebooks- and bring in the informational texts as read alouds. Just remember to read aloud often and well. Here is a list of good read alouds to get your started:
Some good ways to get started include, a picture walk, book talk, talking about the author, talking about the theme, or just start reading. According to Laminack,: "The tangible rewards of reading aloud and discussing books with children are both extensive and well grounded in research. Indeed, in 1985, the federally funded Commission on Reading released a report entitled Becoming a Nation of Readers and stated: the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success is reading aloud to children." (1985, p. 23) (page 94) Just keep reading, Experts tell us that students need to hear thousands of stories read aloud before they begin to read for themselves, some of that can happen at home-but may not- so, it is up to us to do in our classrooms as often as possible.
Laminack, L. (2009). Unwrapping the read aloud. New York: Scholastic.
Thank you for reading..
Pearl Garden is a doctoral candidate at Texas A&M- Commerce. Follow along as she drops "pearls' of literacy and 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.