Universal Best Practice:
Reading aloud is one of the most important things parents and teachers can do with children. Reading aloud builds many important foundational skills, introduces vocabulary, provides a model of fluent, expressive reading, and helps children recognize what reading for pleasure is all about.
One of the greatest gifts adults can give—to their offspring and to their society—is to read to children.—Carl Sagan
Hints for Reading Aloud
1. Love the book yourself before you read it to the children.
Read it all through yourself before introducing it. Don't share a book you think is boring, because the kids can tell. There are too many wonderful books available, select one you both will enjoy.
2. Choose a book that lends itself to reading out loud.
Unless you are dramatically gifted, books with lots of dialogue are tricky. Also, books with lots of introspection are sometimes more fun to read alone. Save these for one-on-one recommendations.
3. Be versatile in your approach.
You read to them. Or, they read to you, in turns. Or, you read to them, but they all read along with their own copies. Or you read a page, they read a page. Or...what else?
4. Make read aloud time special.
Gather around. Turn off the lights, turn on a cozy lamp. Flop on pillows. Be comfortable, but intimate. Read aloud time is classroom family time.
5. Read with expression.
Listen to yourself on a tape recorder. Can your presentation be improved with dramatic pauses? Louder or softer speech? Funny voices? Don't be shy. They won't remember that you sounded silly. They'll remember an interesting book.
6. Don't over evaluate.
The more you formally test and check, the more you kill the affective gain. Assess comprehension throughout with questioning and authentic assessments (journaling, art projects, etc.)
7. Read aloud every day.
You and your students both deserve it. Consider it your intellectual vitamin. Read from a novel, the newspaper, a poem, a diary, a play...
8. Leave them asking for more.
Leave them groaning at a cliffhanger. Laughing at a joke. Crying along. Then say, "more tomorrow."And then...deliver!