Kindergarten Interactive Read Aloud Lesson
I have been using interactive read alouds in kindergarten and first grade classrooms for the last 9 or 10 years. As a result, I have seen student engagement soar as a result of intentional instruction.
What is an Interactive Read Aloud?
First of all, what is an interactive read aloud?
An interactive read aloud is a systematic method of reading a book aloud. The teacher is doing the word decoding work and the students are asked to do the thinking work. Through careful planning, teachers can scaffold the student’s understanding of the book being read. The teacher also models strategies for comprehension as well as teaches vocabulary.
Why Teachers Should Read a Book Again and Again
Why do we want to read books again and again? First of all, it is fun! But more importantly, it allows us to go deeper with the text. With each reading, the teacher scaffolds their questioning to help facilitate deeper analytical talk from their students.
Why Interactive Read Alouds Are Important?
Research has demonstrated that the most effective read-aloud are those where children are actively involved in asking and answering questions and making predictions, rather than passively listening.
Talking, writing, and/or drawing in response to reading gives kids an opportunity to make their thinking visible.
Passion is contagious… GREAT instruction starts with passion. Some books just BEG to be read over and over again. In order to have a meaningful conversation, you must start with a great book!
How to Select an Interactive Read Aloud Book.
First of all, you will be spending a week with the book you select, so you will want it to be a good one!
Part of the purpose of an interactive read-aloud in kindergarten and first grade is to expand and strengthen the listening comprehension of your students. Experts suggest selecting a piece of literature that is 1-2 grade levels higher than a book your students could decode on their own.
You want books that spark conversations! I am sure you will find many of your favorite books. We purposely selected books that you may already have in your personal collection. If you scroll to the end of this post, you can grab these lists for FREE!
How to Plan and Interactive Read Aloud
With an interactive read-aloud, careful planning is needed. So you need time to LIVE with the book before you attempt to read it to your students.
I have been guilty of grabbing a book off the shelf and thinking, hmm… this will be good. Only I either under-bake the book and just skim the meaning of the text OR I end up with a surprise. Have you ever read a book and then had to back peddle?
I usually read the book from cover to cover on Monday and Tuesday, then skim to the pages I need for discussion on Wednesday and Thursday. We then read the whole book again on Friday.
In kindergarten, we read the same book every day. Each day we set a new purpose for reading. Does this mean that we don’t read other books… just because? No. We read multiple books per day. Some books are JUST FUN! Some books hold content that we are covering. But for comprehension strategy lessons, we stick with the same text Monday-Friday.
Reading Comprehension Strategies
There are some strategies that lend themselves to the beginning of the book. These are strategies that are generally done on the first day of the book.
Naturally, if they already know the story, then making a prediction is not that meaty. I like to ask the students to make a prediction when there is evidence gathered to help them. Making a prediction without evidence then becomes a wild goose chase. Here are some of the questions we might use to spark our conversion:
- What do you think will happen next?
- Why do you think that will happen?
- Did your prediction happen or did the author surprise you?
Naturally, with picture books, the illustrator gives the reader a hand. They provide the images. Proficient readers visualize and create images using different senses to better understand what they read. As students progress in their reading into say, chapter books, images are not available and they must make their own mental images.I have worked as an interventionist with a group of 4th graders who could decode like the wind, but their comprehension was low. When I asked them to visualize, I found they were unable to with explicit instruction. So we worked on drawing the images they saw.
The images below are from our kindergarten students as they visualize.
Text Details and Retelling the Text
Retelling the text is one of those skills that students need time with. Each week we pick between 6-8 text details that students put in order. Once the events are placed in order, then we have students turn to their partners to discuss. This is a perfect opportunity to build your kindergarten and first-grade students’ oral language.
Here is how it looked in my classroom.
After the events of the story have been put together, students partner-talk (we name the partners “peanut butter” or jelly”) and retell the events in the story. The peanut butters start at the beginning and when I say switch, the jellys continue on from there. When they get to the end of the story, they start over again. In this way, EVERYONE is participating in the retell. The partners must listen to each other so they will know when to chime in. Then they will construct the retell individually (craft or in their notebook).
Some stories are harder to tell in sequential order because there are related series of events, but they don’t necessarily have to happen sequentially. So we do an “In the story” “Not in the story” activity.
Making connections is another reading comprehension strategy we focus on. Making connections seem to come naturally to kindergarten students. After all, you just have to say the word “five” and students all chime in, “Hey! I’m five!!!!”
Read more about vocabulary lessons by clicking:
Kindergarten Interactive Read-Aloud Lesson Plans
As I said above, I have been using interactive read-aloud lessons for years now. I have blogged about specific books and have some student writing examples as well. Here are a few blog posts you may be interested in reading:
- CLARK THE SHARK LESSON IDEAS
- CHRYSANTHEMUM LESSON PLANS (FREE FILE)
- THE RECESS QUEEN ACTIVITIES AND READING LESSON PLANS
You can find all of these interactive read aloud lesson plans by clicking:
Free Interactive Read Aloud Book List
If you would like a few lists of books we recommend for kindergarten, first-grade, and second grade, we have you covered. Add your email to the box at the bottom of this blog post and we will send it to your email inbox. There is even a free week long set of plans included so you can try it out for yourself.