Students working in groups in a classroom
Teaching Strategy

Read Aloud

Encourage class participation and develop students’ active listening skills by reading aloud text excerpts.

Published:

At a Glance

Teaching Strategy

Language

English — US
Also available in:
French — FR

Subject

  • English & Language Arts
  • History
  • Social Studies

Grade

6–11

Overview

About This Teaching Strategy

For many students, ideas on the page come alive when they are spoken. Reading text aloud provides a way to help all students access the material and develops their skills as active listeners. Listening to proficient readers provides a model for fluent reading and can help students, especially ELL students, recognize how to pronounce unfamiliar words. By inviting students to read, this strategy encourages class participation and takes the focus off of the teacher as the only source of information.

 

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Lesson Plans

Steps for Implementation

Most texts are appropriate to read as a read-aloud. It can be challenging to hold some students’ attention for texts longer than two pages, but an extremely engaging story can hold students’ attention for quite a while. Use your knowledge of your students, coupled with the appeal of the text, to select a reading of appropriate length.

When doing a read-aloud, it is best if all students have a copy of the text so that they can follow along, usually taking notes as they listen. The teacher or a volunteer can begin reading the text, reading a few lines or a whole paragraph. There are many ways to structure a read-aloud:

  • Students can read in the order in which they are sitting (like in the Wraparound strategy), continuing around the room until the text is finished. Sometimes teachers allow students to say “pass” if they prefer not to read.
  • Read-alouds can be structured “popcorn style.” As soon as one student stops reading, another student can begin.
  • Teachers can assign students a section of the text to read. Often teachers give students the assignment the night before, so that they can practice reading for homework.

As the text is read, students can mark up their own text or take notes on a graphic organizer. Many teachers have students underline or highlight important words or phrases in the text and write questions in the margins of the page. Sometimes teachers give students questions that they should answer as they listen to the text being read.


If there are particularly important parts of the material that you want to emphasize, you can have students reread these sections. Students often pick up on different ideas and words when they hear a text read more than once. Or, after the read-aloud, you can ask students to reread the text silently on their own.

Depending on the length of the reading, you may want to pause after each paragraph to check for understanding, clarify misconceptions, and ask students to make predictions.

If there are particularly important parts of the material that you want to emphasize, you can have students reread these sections. Students often pick up on different ideas and words when they hear a text read more than once. Or, after the read-aloud, you can ask students to reread the text silently on their own.

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