Read Aloud

If we truly wish to revolutionize American education, we must put far more pleasure into the reading experience. And the most effective and time-honored way of doing that is by reading aloud to the child, the family, and the class.

--Jim Trelease


Teachers reading to an entire class from texts above their instructional level in order to build background knowledge and knowledge of language to promote reading development.

Teacher Role

Before During After
  • Select text 2+ years above instructional level of group
  • Preview text
  • Introduce text activating prediction and prior knowledge
  • Model skills and strategies
  • Read expressively
  • Use "metacognitive talk" by pausing to share how you are making meaning from text
  • Have students share ideas/opinions and experiences related to the story read
  • Encourage students to connect read aloud to previous experiences (text to text, text to self, and text to the world)
  • Connect read aloud experience to small group and whole group instructions

Student Role

Before During After
  • Make predictions
  • Think about prior knowledge
  • Watch and listen
  • Make a picture in your mind of the events of the story and connect to prior experiences
  • Share ideas, opinions, and experiences related to the story


  • Reading aloud to children gives them a sense of the language or print, putting them in a better position to figure out print on their own. (Moustafa in Press)
  • Children are engaging in their most intellectually demanding work when they share ideas and opinions about stories and share experiences related to stories read or told to them. (Dysan, 1987; Sweet, 1993)
  • Story book reading experiences give children the structure and syntax of written language as well as demonstrating purpose and function of reading. (Morrow, O'Connor & Smith, 1990)
  • The single most important activity for building the knowledge and skills eventually required for reading is reading aloud to children (A Nation At Risk).