The importance of reading aloud to and with our children is undeniable. But how we present Read Alouds, or shared reading, is almost as important as the reading itself.
Barry Zuckerman and his fellow authors argue in their 2008 article regarding Read Alouds that ‘[i]t is not sufficient to simply read a text aloud in order to encourage children to learn from being read to.” Instead, we story tellers need to take an interactive approach as we share books with children.
This can be done in lots of different ways. Here are are some ideas for you to try with your next Read Aloud:
- Label and describe the pictures while reading.
- Ask questions while reading.
- Provide feedback to your child’s observations.
- Let your child become the narrator of the story.
- Make connections between the story and your child’s past experiences or to the world around you.
- Discuss the meaning of the story after completion.
- Offer explanations for what has happened in the story.
- Offer explanations of new vocabulary.
- Ask your child to make predictions—what will happen next in the story or what will happen after the book has ended.
- Give your child a chance to talk about their feelings—how they would feel if they were in the character’s shoes or how the story makes them feel.
As Dr. Zuckerman, et al., explain, “One of the most powerful pieces of shared reading is what happens in the pauses between pages and after the book is closed.” So parents and teachers, let’s see what we can do to make the most of these priceless pauses!
*”Reading aloud to children: the evidence” by Barry Zuckerman, E. Duursma, and M. Augustyn,13 May 2008, http://www.reachoutandread.org/filerepository/readingaloudtochildren_adc_july2008.pdf