The past two days, I attended the Illinois Reading Council Conference in Springfield, IL. One of the most informative sessions was presented by Dr. Steven Layne from Judson University. His title was-In Defense of the Read Aloud.
Dr. Layne presented his defense of the read aloud through the following points:
1. Reading Aloud is Fun! Think about all of the students you have during the day. When is the one time that each can enjoy text without some sort of assessment? You guessed it-the read aloud.
2. Listening Skills are Improved! Did you know that students can often listen and comprehend text 2 grade levels above their silent reading level. In other words, your students can access more complex text through-drum-roll-YOU!
3. Reading Skills and Improved and Reinforced! Think about all of the questions that you ask (or could ask) during a read aloud. Now, purposefully tie those questions to reading skills and you have made the read aloud a practice session without a worksheet.
4. Positive Attitudes are Fostered Toward Books! Your read aloud models your own positive attitude toward books. Enough said!
5. Reading Aloud Broadens Interests and Tastes! Think about the make up of your classrooms. What is missing in terms of student exposure to the world? Have your students ever been to small town America? If not, choose a read aloud that features small town USA as the setting.
6. Imagination is Exercised and Background Knowledge is Built! Think about how the non-fiction article in Science or the historic fiction novel linked to the Social Studies curriculum could provide a common level of background knowledge for all students.
7. Reading Maturity Develops
8. Reading Independence is Promoted! Consider how many of our YA authors have multiple books to their credit. Careful selection of a read aloud can spark an interest in a book series, a particular author, or a certain genre-all promoting independent reading!
9. Lifelong Readers May/Will Be Developed! The goal of any teacher and school (at any level of education) should be the development of lifelong readers. Reading Aloud promotes reading in all areas of a child’s education.
There you have it-Reasons to Read Aloud! While reading aloud is never easy, the benefits are beyond what you may have imagined. And if our goal is to develop lifelong readers, I know that reading aloud is an excellent use of class time in any and every content area.
Special thanks to Dr. Layne for presenting an excellent and informative session.