Recently, I recommended The Read-Aloud Handbook as a great resource for parents and teachers. It not only gives extensive evidence for the practice of reading aloud to children int he home and classroom but also provides some great tips for doing so. Below is an excerpt of a few of the do’s and don’ts of read-aloud that might interest you (taken from Chapter 4 of The Read-Aloud Handbook (5th edition):
Here is a sample of some of the Do’s:
- Occasionally read above children’s intellectual levels and challenge their minds.
- Allow your listeners a few minutes to settle down and adjust their feet and minds to the story. If it’s a novel, begin by asking what happened when you left off yesterday.
- Mood is an important factor in listening. An authoritarian “Now stop that and settle down! Sit up straight. Pay attention” doesn’t create a receptive atmosphere.
- Allow time for class and home discussion after reading a story. Thoughts, hopes, fears and discoveries are aroused by a book.
Here is a sample of some of the Don’t’s:
- Don’t read above a child’s emotional level. Don’t overwhelm your listener – consider the intellectual, social and emotional level of your audience when making a read-aloud selection.
- If you are a teacher, don’t feel you have to tie every book to class work. Don’t confine the broad spectrum of literature to the narrow limits of the curriculum.
- In choosing novels for reading aloud, avoid books that are heavy with dialogue; they are difficult reading aloud and listening.
- Don’t use the book as a threat. As soon as your child or class sees that you’ve turned the book into a weapon, they’ll change their attitude about books from positive to negative.
I am sure these tips will help improve your read-aloud times with your children and/or class making it an enjoyable and beneficial time for everyone.