Having daily opportunities to listen to an adult read aloud increases students’ own comprehension and fluency. This is especially important for students with intellectual disabilities. Here are some examples of how reading aloud can blend with and support some of the other five elements of literacy instruction.
Does reading aloud to your class sound like something reserved for elementary classrooms? If so, you are not alone in your thinking. Jacobs, Morrison, and Swinyard (2000) found that few teachers beyond first grade read aloud to their students on a daily basis. According to Allington and Gabriel (2012), quality literacy instruction involves a blend of six elements that every student should experience every day. These elements include: self-selected reading; reading accurately; reading something he/she understands; writing about something personally meaningful; and sharing reading or writing with peers. While these are all essential elements to literacy instruction, perhaps none is more important than the sixth element: listening to a fluent adult read aloud. Having daily opportunities to listen to an adult read aloud increases students’ own comprehension and fluency (Trelease, 2001). This is especially important for students with intellectual disabilities.
Here are some examples of how reading aloud can blend with and support some of the other five elements of literacy instruction identified in Allington’s research.
Read aloud from a variety of materials. Be sure to include texts such as magazines, poems, plays, song lyrics, brochures, recipes, and online materials. By exposing students to a variety of topics and text types, you will make it easier for them to select materials of interest.
You can read aloud from a text and then ask students to write a reaction or a summary. This can be as simple as asking students to describe their feelings about the passage. You can also read part of a text and then ask students to write their predictions of what comes next.
20 Ways to Adapt the Read Aloud by Paula Kluth
(broken link) Interactive Read Aloud Hints from Bank Street College of Education
Allington, R. L., & Gabriel, R. E. (2012). Every child, every day. Educational Leadership, 69, 10-15.
Jacobs, J. S., Morrison, T. G., & Swinyard, W. R. (2000). Reading aloud to students: A national probability study of classroom reading practices of elementary school teachers. Reading Psychology, 21 (3), 171-193.
Trelease, J. (2001). Read-aloud handbook (5th ed.). New York, NY: Viking-Penguin.