Without seeing a snowboarder in action on the slopes, a child is unlikely to decide he’d like to become a snowboarder.
Without hearing an accomplished violinist perform, a child has little reason to aspire to play the violin.
Without regular opportunities to hear accomplished readers bring great books alive, a child won’t have the chance to experience the wonders that the world of reading can offer.
So, if we want kids to want to become readers, we have to keep showing them the wonder of reading.
Then Read Aloud
If you want kids to want to read,
Then read aloud to them.
If you want kids to fall crazy in love with great books,
Then read great books aloud to them.
If you want kids to view books as a way to learn about themselves,
Then read aloud books that mirror the soul.
If you want kids to travel to new corners of their minds,
Then read aloud stories of adventure and exploration.
If you want kids to become civil and graceful human beings,
Then read aloud tales that teach respect and human kindness.
If you want kids never to stop growing as readers,
Then never stop reading aloud.
Some lucky kids come to us with the love of reading already in bloom. They’re ready to go. They’ve been raised on a steady diet of great books, at home and in school. These kids need teachers who will expand and nourish their growing appetites, to keep their love of books and reading alive and well.
Other kids have not been as lucky. Their experiences with books are much more limited, even negative. Some already think reading is not for them because they’ve experienced more struggle than success. For these kids, establishing a love of books is an absolutely crucial component to getting them back on track for success.
For kids in both of these categories, and every kid in between, the read-aloud is your most valuable tool as a reading teacher.
- It’s an advertisement for becoming a real reader. It says, “Hey, look at this great thing you can do when you become a reader. This is the thing that makes all that hard work worth it!”
- It strengthens both a child’s vocabulary and her or his background knowledge.
- It’s an incredible way to build relationships in a community of learners.
- It exposes kids to a rich variety of genres, writing styles, authors, and topics.
- It gives children the chance to observe a skilled reader negotiating the strategies and techniques of making meaning from print.
- It exposes kids to the hidden world inside a reader’s head as the reader thinks aloud.
- It gives everyone in the room a rich, common experience. Even the most struggling readers come along risk free, accessing more complex texts than they are yet able to tackle on their own.
- It primes the pump for independence.
Learning to read is hard work. The read aloud is a daily reminder to kids of why it is worth the effort.
For help turning the daily read aloud into a cornerstone of your reading classroom, checkout my new book, Simple Starts: Making the Move to a Reader-Centered Classroom from Heinemann Publishing.
Video – Katie DiCamillo talks about the impact of reading aloud