Save 40% off your entire blog purchase with code: SAVEBIG

Deedee Wills - Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

Tips on How to Teach a Kindergarten Interactive Read Aloud Lesson

Kindergarten Interactive Read Aloud Lesson. How can you teach for deep comprehension? Reading comprehension is taught through an interactive read aloud.

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.

kindergarten interactive read aloud books

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.

kindergarten interactive read aloud books

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.

How to writing in Kindergarten! Writing instruction in kindergarten can get overwhelming. Mentor Texts, Lesson Ideas, and Student Sample! Here's my simple breakdown of tackling how-to writing in kindergarten.

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!

kindergarten interactive read aloud books

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!

kindergarten interactive read aloud books

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 

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!!!!”

Additional Reading Comprehension Strategies

Here are a few of the other comprehension strategies we work on during our interactive read-aloud.

  • Inferring
  • Character Analysis
  • Opinions
  • Synthesis
  • Compare
  • Cause and Effect
  • Schema
  • Problem and Solution

Interactive Read Aloud – Vocabulary Lessons

Each week we pull 2 words from the text and examine their meaning.  Because the students are hearing the same words over and over, the words become permanent.  

Through guided lessons, we examine the meaning of the words and words that are related.  

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:

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.

Free Curriculum Map for kindergarten, first grade, and even second grade! This includes reading, writing, a math scope and sequence, and a phonics scope and sequence. Plus a ton of FREE resources!
Get this FREE Curriculum Guide and Resources!
Get freebies and teaching tips 
sent right to your inbox.
Thank you for subscribing!
Kindergarten Interactive Read Aloud Lesson. How can you teach for deep comprehension? Reading comprehension is taught through an interactive read aloud.

Pin for Later

Recommended Posts

Deedee Wills

Deedee Wills

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

Hi, I'm DeedeE.

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

Free curriculum planning Map

Make your life easier with this FREE Curriculum Planning Map with over 400+ pages and free resources!
Thank you for subscribing!

Use Promo Code: WILLS


Latest Posts

You Might Also Enjoy...

25 Responses

  1. I really enjoyed listening to you last night. I have purchased the December Guiding Readers unit and I am excited to try it out. Thanks for sharing your expertise and resources!

    1. You are so welcome! I hope you will be thrilled with the results and the easy of implementation. Good luck! I would love to see pictures!!!

  2. SON OF A BISCUIT! How did I miss this?!?!?!?!!?! 🙁 🙁 🙁 I am so depressed right now. Ha! I read over the Q and A just now and I think probably one of the biggest questions you get is how do you fit this in when you have a "program" you have to follow?? I am in that boat and I can tell you it isn't easy. BUT, I pick and choose the main "ideas" in my program {which is Journeys — and not too shabby) – and then tie them in to the books and activities you provide in Guiding Readers. I just LOVE the books that you use and they are so much more kindergarten friendly than the big books and readers from Journeys, you know? Anyway, so sad I missed this and I am LOVING kindergarten and have sent many teachers your way for Guiding Readers and all of your other fabulous stuff. 🙂 Sorry so long!!

    1. Emily, you made me snort with your biscuit comment. Ha! I added a link so people can go back and read it, but I think it's hard to see in my post, so I'll make it easier to find.

      I guess my response to fitting it all in is: You have to do what is best for kids. If you have practices that are working and the results reflect that, then you probably don't need to make much of a change. But in the past, I felt something was missing and that having meaningful conversations were missing in my daily whole group reading. This is where our concept for Guiding Readers came in. I hope that helps. Thank you so much for your comment. We sometimes just need our instructional day to last 15 hours. Ha!!!

  3. It was such a pleasure to attend this webinar – thank you for sharing your expertise! I'm also so thrilled you introduced all of us to that fabulous book. I had NEVER heard of it & absolutely LOVE it! I can't wait for your next PD 🙂 Jen

    1. Thank you so much Jen! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I was a bit apprehensive about chatting to my computer for an hour without seeing the faces of the people I talked to. Ha!

  4. You. Are. Amazing. I love all of this. I am really going to try to get this into our district because it's EVERYTHING right there. And by the way- the comments are so genuine and real- that's what people should see! You are NEVER bragging. Are you kidding me? If I wrote something like this, I'd have those comments on billboards! <3 Thank you so much for sharing your link to the webinar, too. I wasn't home when you actually did it, so I'm so happy to be able to watch it and share it so we can get the program.

  5. I am super excited to try the ESGI assessments you created (even if I do have to pay for it myself LOL)…BUT, the link just takes me to the picture and not your "super great discount" haahaa. Can you do me a HUGE favor and check the link (or tell me it's user error and I need to figure it out)? I did the webinar on Thursday but didn't write down the discount code (assuming your link/discount is the same). Thanks a ton and really enjoyed your "speed reading" of Ordinary Mary 🙂

    1. So sorry! I just fixed it! You will seriously love ESGI! I always suggest watching the videos. They will help you set up your class SUPER quick!

  6. i loved the webinar! I've been teaching with Guided Readers for the past 2 months and hearing you do it helped me understand the process a bit better. Thank you! Where is the link to the free instructional unit? I thought I understood it would be in this blog post.

  7. LOVED the Webinar! Love all you do!! I would love to see my district adapt this instead of a series! So much more appropriate!
    I do have one question – I downloaded the "free" unit. Is that a complete unit for that book or is there even more when you purchase one?
    Such great ideas! Doing something like this has been on my mind for ahile – but I am no where near as productive as you! Thanks!

    1. Hey there!!

      Yes, the download is typically what we do for each book. Each book might have different activities, but essentially you will have 5 days worth of comprehension and response activities for each book. I did include the phonemic awareness because it so important. I did not include the phonics instruction that is also in each unit. It would have been difficult to include it because it is HUGE!

    2. Hey you!
      Thank you!! I just want to know so I can try and talk the district into getting us these instead of a series. 🙂 Wish me luck!!

  8. Hi I loved your webinar, just checking back in again because I thought we were supposed to receive the December unit for registering for the webinar. Did I understand that correctly? If so, I need to know how to receive mine. Thanks so much! I (AND MY KINDERS) LOVE EVERYTHING YOU CREATE!!!

  9. Pingback: Teacher Professional Development books for kindergarten
  10. Pingback: The BEST Kindergarten Schedule ~ Fitting it all in! - Mrs. Wills Kindergarten
  11. Pingback: Balanced Literacy Approach
  12. Love this information on interactive read aloud! Is there somewhere I can download the “visualize, tect details, connections posters” They would be awesome to post or use during the lessons and for my principal to see as well when he comes in the room!

  13. 7-22-19
    Somehow I ran across your blog on Interactive Read Alouds! I love your material and really wish I could clone you for myself!! I’ve taught kindergarten for 20 years now and have always had to teach by myself since I’m the only kindergarten teacher. I could use all the help I can get teaching reading! Can you tell me what ESGI is? Thank you so much for sharing with all of us! I have a new principal this year and I’m so nervous he’s going to see that I stink at teaching reading skills! Any help would be appreciated!
    Thank you,

  14. Thank you for this! Brand new teacher candidate here, prepping a sample lesson for a potential job. I would love your list of read-aloud books for kindergarten and first grade

    1. Hi Melissa! Yay! I’m excited for you!! If you enter your name and email address in the box at the bottom of the post, the curriculum guide with free resources and a book list will be sent to your inbox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Book Deedee

Interested in having Deedee speak at your event?  Submit the form below.