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Read Alouds 

Ever since I was a little girl I have loved books.  When I was very young, I loved being read to and ever since I was old enough I have loved to read on my own.  I believe that reading is a powerful tool for building children's vocabulary.  I also believe that giving children a love of reading should be an ambition of all teachers.  Teachers can begin giving children this love of reading by reading aloud to them. 

People climbing books

Reading aloud to children as a teacher is much different from the reading aloud of a parent.  When parents read aloud to their children, it is for the pure enjoyment of the story.  When teachers read aloud, however, they are trying to enhance children's comprehension of the story.


There are three things teachers need to consider when preparing for a read aloud.  They need to think about what they are going to do before the reading, during the reading, and after the reading.  The following table breaks down these three areas and what kinds of things should be covered.

Before reading
During reading
After reading
Establishing background-
Show cover of book and discuss content. What do the children think book is about based on the cover?  Discuss the author and illustrator. Introduce main characters and setting in which the story occurs.
Expression and gestures-
Use appropriate expressions and gestures. Change tone of voice for different characters. Show the illustrations in the book to the children.
Discussion questions-
For checking comprehension. Ask a child to summarize the story. Review the setting, problem, goal, and solution.

Search book for possible unknown words before read aloud. Introduce new vocabulary that children may not know and that is needed to understand the story.

Checking comprehension-
Check comprehension periodically. Encourage child reactions. Ask questions occassionally to check children's comprehension. Rephrase the text if children have difficulty understanding words or phrases.

Make connections-
Help children make connections between the events in the book to events in their own lives.

Encourage children to make predictions about what will happen in the story.

At appropriate points in the story ask children to share their predictions about what will happen next or what will happen at the end of the story.

Follow-up activities-
Engage children in a follow-up activity. For example, discuss other books by the same author or ask them to draw a picture of their favorite scene in the story.

Links Button

Click here to view a sample read aloud.

Jim Trelease is the author of The Read-Aloud Handbook which includes a Treasury over 1,500 great read aloud books for children.

Click here to visit Jim Trelease's Homepage which includes information about read alouds and his books.

Click here to purchase Jim Trelease's The Read-Aloud Handbook on

Red Book, Turning