February 16, 2017 is World Read-Aloud Day, an occasion to celebrate the power of stories. If you’re looking for fresh reading material, Read-Aloud America maintains lists of excellent books for all ages. We’ve put together a guide with tips to take your read-aloud session to the next level.
Incorporate Interactive Elements
Reading with enthusiasm, using different voices for different characters, and ensuring that students can see the illustrations are great read-aloud tactics. However, for tactile and kinesthetic learners, it’s theater that makes a book truly come to life. This can be as simple as having students serve as the book characters, reading their lines in turn, or more elaborate with a puppet theater and props. For pre-K and early elementary students, finger plays add extra fun to read-aloud time.
Many organizations have “reading therapy” dogs that are trained to lie quietly while a child reads to them. These canine visitors serve as a non-judgmental audience for shy or reluctant readers. A quick online search should turn up local organizations. If animals aren’t practical for your classroom, consider other special visitors, like beloved storybook characters! You can either rent a costume and have a volunteer dress up or hire a performer.
Parent and Caregiver Materials
Getting parents and caregivers involved in read-aloud time is a great way to add value to your lessons. This can be as simple as putting together a take-home packet of materials such as book suggestions, a few fingerplays or activities, and a short list of tips to make the most of at-home reading time. Childcraft Literacy Bags are excellent tools; each includes a book along with reading aides like puppets, dolls, CDs, and activity guides all bundled together in all in a handy mesh bag.
For even more great literacy ideas, check out our post on re-imaging story time in the classroom.