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One of my favorite times of my day is reading aloud to my students. Whether it’s a simple theme-based book at our morning carpet time, or our afternoon chapter book, I get lost in the magic of being able to transport my kids from one magical place to another. Even my reluctant readers enjoy our read aloud times.
I tie all kinds of skills into these spots on my schedule. We discuss character development, plot, setting, inferencing. We talk about our nouns, verbs, adjectives, prepositions, word wall words. We discuss our favorite characters, why we like them and what the villains have done to make them unlikeable. It allows the kids to get caught up in make-believe lands or non-fiction locales, which in turn opens up an entire separate verbal discussion of whys and hows and wheres.
My students get a lot of application out of our read aloud times. So I feel these times are very important in my classroom schedule, especially when it seems as if I have more to teach than time allowed to teach it.
My class exists of first graders, third graders, fourth and fifth graders. And I reach them all on their different levels by using this one tool.
But is reading aloud appropriate for all levels of learners, even up through high school?
I would answer an emphatic ‘YES’!
Reading aloud allows our auditory learners to better comprehend what is being read. It allows our drifters the ability to become involved in a story and actually understand what is happening. It allows our older students the ability to comment, insert opinions and ask questions as to why certain characters are responding in certain ways, and to place value on written word.
Studies show that reading aloud, especially to younger children, is crucial in the formation of language acquisition, preparation of pre-emergent reading skills and brain development. Studies also show that reading aloud to older children and teens allows them the application needed to cross between their own world and the world of the book that is being read. It allows them to assimilate and synthesize information. It allows them to strengthen their verbal communication skills when discussing the book with other students and teachers. It allows them the opportunity to think outside the box and share those thoughts with others who may not have seen it that same way. It allows for an increase in newly acquired vocabulary usage, which is crucial to college prep exams and basic college courses.
Reading goes hand in hand with writing.
Also, for our reluctant readers who struggle with reading due to an actual disability or because they just aren’t interested in reading, reading aloud allows their auditory learning to continue to be strengthened and increases their comprehension of the written word. Students who have dyslexia, for instance, have depended on auditory learning in order to manage their classroom subjects, simply because of the way their brains are not processing the written words when left to do the work independently. Reading aloud allows these students to actually understand what is going on in a book, and enjoy it, instead of having to continually struggle with words rolling off the edges of the page or letters getting jumbled in the process.
When comprehension happens and those light bulbs begin to glow, I can’t help but be thankful that I realized the importance of reading aloud to my students.
And I do have to admit, being able to do character voices without being judged is pretty cool too.