Read Aloud

I teach Middle School, grades 6 and 7,  in a pretty low socioeconomic area and I wanted to read aloud to the kids.  I found one series that they kids are excited about.  It is by Sharon Draper-The Hazelwood High trilogy.  My students identify with the character's life experiences and are enjoying Forged By Fire

It was important for me to find something they would be interested in for the first read aloud.  I started mid year and we are almost done with one of the books.  The kids beg to be read to, but we have such little time in a period that I read to them only on Friday's. Now that the read aloud is going well, I am rethinking reading the whole series.  Yes, the kids identify with the characters experiences, attitudes  and even the feelings, but reading allows me to experience things that I could never imagine. I know that some of my kids have never experienced being read to (something I can't imagine), but am I shorting my kids by not expanding their horizon's?

  • What are your thoughts about this?
  • What books have you read to your classes?

Thanks for the input!

By jodieo1
Posted on: April 06 2010
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  • chrisSLEMS

    I try to read to my class on a regular basis. It is hard to believe that they haven't been read to, but every time I read to them 1 or 2 students coment on how i read and how noone ever did that for them. I try, when reading aloud, to fit in Popcorn (or Pop up) reading to get the kids involved. The more they read the more animated they become. I, too, wish for more time to do read alouds. Favorite Read alouds: Forged by Fire, Tuck Everlasting, Seedfolks, The Outsiders, Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry (great for dialect), and Romeo and Juliette

    I have an 8th grader that disrupts the entire class during her independant reading rotation. I started reading her book(s) to her recently during that rotation (she follows along) and it was like waving a magic wand. I truly believe that many of our students have suffered from not being read to in their formative years.


    She might be the prefect student to work on an Audiobook, I have had real success with kids and the audiobooks. I don't know her lexile but, if possible, it may keep her focused and you able to work with all the students in relative peace.

    I agree, the audio books are great for students who want to read but struggle; it is important to frequently monitor a student the first audio book they do, some kids can handle the responsibility more than others.


    Bravo! You're giving the kids such a wonderful gift by reading to them! Don't ever stop! They need to be read to. Some books read better than others, as you know. I actually read Copper Sun by Sharon Draper with my students who are similar to yours in terms of SES and cultural background. They adored the book, even though it was tough to hear sometimes (slavery issues), and they wrote beautiful responses that we shared with Ms. Draper when she visited our school recently. I also love to read books outside of their "comfort zones" just to let them hear how beautiful the written language can be. Some of my favorite read alouds are: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, Missing May by Cynthia Rylant, and Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan. Your kids might also like to hear some of the short stories in Walter Dean Myers' collection titled 145th Street Stories. Keep reading and sharing the passion for good books!


    One of my goals each year with my read alouds is to have one of my students become proficient enough at reading aloud that they can go downstairs to the Elementary School and do a read aloud for a second grade class.  I love the look on their faces when they return!  They usually tell the whole class what it was like and relate all the questions asked of them.  Its something they will always remember.

    I,too, love to read aloud to my students. They love the way I act out the scenes as I am reading. One reading strategy to consider is to allow students to participate in Reciprocal Teaching if they are reading the same book in the Independent Reading Rotation. Students can participate in the following roles: Reader Leader, Predictor, Word Watcher, Questioner, and Summarizer. Other roles such as Figurative Language Finder and Clarifier can be added to more advanced readings. Students become the leaders in the group while the teacher facilitates.

    I love the idea of working a Read Aloud into your instruction, this is a "best practice" in reading and also builds community within the classroom. I have heard before that a read aloud needs to take no longer than 2 weeks to complete otherwise you lose student engagement/interest- that has been my only concern as I have tried to incorporate read alouds. I have tried to find more of the popular, modern books that I think kids will be able to discuss with other kids in their grade level. My 8th graders love the Skeleton Creek books. They have online videos that you watch as you read. I also read the 1st 39 clues book to my 6th graders and even though it was not my favorite, they loved it. 7th graders loved reading City of Ember and then along with that the People of Sparks. I try to find books with sequels or authors that have additional books so that they can continue reading these on their own. Great post Jodie! Thanks for the new suggestions of books on the other posts!

    I love read alouds and so do students! There is something magical about oral storytelling and it allows us to model how we interact with books. These books have been successful in my classroom: ~The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 ~Sahara Special ~Patricia Polacco books (they are "children's" books but written at a 4-6th grade level and include meaningful topics) ~Esperanza Rising ~Hoot ~The Higher Power of Lucky      

    I read most of the books you listed.  I am going to add ~Sahara Special and~Patricia Polacco's books to my summer reading list.  Thanks for the suggestions.  

    I love to read aloud but find it difficult to fit it into our schedule. I feel that ELL students benefit from hearing the words pronounced clearly and with the correct syllabic stress.  That's one reason I like the Cloze activity in our Workshop studies. Today, we did a class read aloud (to wind down from the TAKS tests)that the students really enjoyed.  They each read a page from their current book. I hope that this activity instills confidence in their reading skills. Thanks for the input on favorite books.  It helps to get opinions from those who have already had successful experiences.  

    I also believe reading aloud has immeasurable benefits for middle school kids. Lots of great ideas for read alouds, but here is my personal fave. So B. It (author escapes me at the moment). But it is a terrific, thought provoking book that keeps kids on the edge of their seats and wondering throughout the story. I started with this book in a summer school class 2 years ago, then continued over the last 2 school years, and every class LOVES the book!

    I would love to incorporate read-alouds into my Read180 classroom next year. I know in one response they stated they read once a week. In general how long and how many times a week do you incorporate a read-aloud? Do you just read or do you also model your thinking about the book?   I was thinking of using The Outsiders and Romeo and Juliet for my 8th graders this year- these books are read by all the mainstream classes and I would hate for them to feel outside of the school culture.

    I do a read-aloud novel at the end of the year so we don't interrupt the flow of the rBook.  By the beginning of the last MP, my students are ready for a change.  The read-aloud I choose is a novel from our Freshman Curriculum and I use it to reinforce all the reading skills we learned from the rBook.  We also do a related writing project one day a week while we are reading the novel.  Yes, I do discuss the book as we read.  The students know their friends have read or are reading the same book, which is a great motivator.  However, we only do this for WG and SG.  Students still do computers and independent reading.  I have found that this helps to end the year more smoothly.  Debbie

    I loved reading all of the titles of books people are reading.  Since I am a believer in the power of reading aloud to students (thinking aloud to model use of strategies being taught/reviewed, enticing them with wonderful literature...), I am very curious how others structure their READ 180 time to allow for read alouds.  I know how important fidelity to the program is but.... Journaliing and increased writing opportunities are also areas where I believe more time needs to be allowed.  How are teachers structuring their days/weeks to allow for more? How are others utilizing SMARTboards and other resources as well? I would greatly appreciate hearing what others are doing.

    My students also loved when I read "City of Ember", and the way the book ends is great because they were begging me to read the next book to answer the questions they had at the end of the book.  It was also a great to see how excited they were to predict what would happen in the next book in the series and to come up with what they would like to see happen in the next book.  

    Sounds like a keeper.  I am going to try it when I introduce the "idea" of reading at home (aka home work) in the next week and that might just suggest that reading is a pleasure!   


    I know how difficult it is to find the time to read to our kids and I love the Book Commercial idea!  I usually do that with a good book that the kids would never choose on their own.  I totally rocked the "commercials" for Tuck Everlasting and Forged by Fire last year!  18 of 18 read both books and all 18 passed the book tests!  I have done "Seedfolks", Romeo & Juliette, and a few good fantasy books!  Anything to get them reading!!

    I love and believe in reading aloud to students; however, I only have a 52 minute class period. It is very difficult to fit reading aloud in this short time period. One way I've remedied the problem is by giving book commercials.  I read aloud only the first one or two chapters to students -- just enough to get them hooked on the book.  Then I tell/encourage kids to finish the book on their own.  Kids race to the library to be the first to check out the book. This is a real motivator and works well for those kids who start lots of books but never finish. Reading aloud gets kids past the book's exposition and on to the main plot, giving them enough background information to begin the comprehension process.  This also relieves me of the pressure I feel to finish the book in a short amount of time, potentially cutting into valuable Read 180 time.

    I read to the students on Friday as well.  I think it is so important for them to hear someone read.  You really want to find high-interest books for students.  I started by reading a series with students and now I let them vote.  I give them a choice of 4 or 5 books and they vote.  I also have one teacher's choice book that I do with them.  I am going to leave a list of books that the students liked over the last couple of years   Swindle- Gordon Korman Schooled-Gordon Korman Zoobreak- Gordon Korman The Juvie Three- Gordon Korman Zach's Lie - Ronald Smith Among the Hidden- Margaret Haddix (The whole series is fantastic)   I have some beach balls with comprehension questions on it and that is how I tie in comprehension based questions. Sometimes I give them a quiz at the end of the novel.  I count this as 1 reading counts book.  They really love it.  Jack's Run- Roland Smith Crash- Jerri Spinelli The Book Theif

    I agree, my students absolutely LOVE the Among the Hidden series...I teach special ed middle school and i have found this to be the best way to start off the year, it's such an interesting story that they don't want to stop! I love hearing kids beg to hear a story instead of groan!  Also, I love the Book Commercials idea!  After I do a couple, I'm going to have my kids make podcasts of their own book commercials--kids love to get recommendations from their peers.

    I agree with the idea of reading aloud excerpts of books as a way to motivate and entice your students to choose new books.  You can do a Read Aloud in conjunction with a Book Talk (You can find already prepared Book Talks via the Scholastic website as well as many others via the web, so you wouldn't have had to read the entire book you are reading an excerpt from in order to do teh Book Talk.) Also, consider usn the audio books to do the Read aloud for you during whole group.  When Harry Potter first came out years ago, I had the book on tape and we listened to the whole story (took us a long time to finish) but the characters voices made the book come to life and I had many students hooked on Harry Potter after that! And don;t forget, you are doing a read aloud every time you do the oral cloze routine for each reading in the workshop.  Lots of opportunities in READ 180 to model fluent reading!

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