For as long as I can remember as an elementary school teacher, I always used texts to build background knowledge, introduce new vocabulary, and read aloud beautifully written literature with intonation and passion to my students. This was an opportunity for students to share their thoughts, ask questions and wonder about what author was conveying to us and what the written word meant to them. Interactive read-alouds is and has been the strategy for elementary teachers to introduce complex mentor texts and to ignite the love for reading with our children.
Today, this strategy is making its way into the Middle and High school classrooms. Teachers are integrating interactive read aloud to expose students to complex rich texts. The rigor that is expected from students on high stakes testing gives the challenge of help all students reach high levels of learning. Students are faced with rigorous expectations in reading comprehension and writing tasks. How can a student who is not reading on his/her grade level begin to comprehend complex texts that are two to three grade levels above their independent reading? One of the solutions is interactive-read aloud. Through this practice, teachers can model a “think-aloud strategy” to help students better understand complex text.
Students interact with one another and the text to make meaning by asking questions, make connection and engage in collaborative conversations. It means to closely read a complex text and have the supports of teacher as model and students as supports for one another in meaningful dialogue.
In October, I had the great opportunity to ignite teachers’ curiosity for interactive read-alouds at the iLearn Charter Schools in New Jersey through a day of professional learning. Middle School teachers became invigorated on how this practice can help all learners fall in love with reading even when it’s challenging.Using Read Alouds in Today’s Classrooms