CCSS: Read Alouds and Increasing Comprehension

“What’s in a name?   That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” (William Shakespeare)

Read Alouds have had an important place in education and the lives of our students since Jim Trelease published his first book about read alouds in 1982 (more information about his work here).  Some other names that have been used to describe read alouds include:

  • Shared reading
  • Close reading
  • Cross text read aloud
  • Interactive read aloud

What are read alouds?

A planned oral reading of a book or print excerpt, usually related to a theme or topic of study, is a basic read aloud.  Typically, read alouds have been used to engage the student listener while developing background knowledge, increasing comprehension skills, and fostering critical thinking.  The Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA) has archives of articles (research-based) about using read alouds for engagement and comprehension.

What can read alouds do for instruction?

A read aloud can be used to model behaviors that powerful readers use to make sure that they understand the text as a reader or  to understand the author’s craft as a writer.  These parallel processes can provide a model for teacher demonstration/thinking to allow students to be active listeners prior to student practice of the same reading behaviors when reading their own texts in a small group, with a partner or individually.  This “deep understanding” is important as the Common Core State Standards demand moving beyond literal understanding to Webb’s “Depth of Knowledge” as used in the assessments coming soon.

What format is used for a read aloud?

There are many formats that match the different names already listed above.  See if one of these sounds familiar to you and also matches your goal for increasing student comprehension?  In Iowa under Every Child Reads, the observable moves for a read aloud were:

  1. Introduction
  2. Activate students listening
  3. Read passage
  4. Elicit responses
  5. Conduct student application of knowledge
Linda Hoyt has her own version of Interactive Read Alouds.  Here is a link to a sample K-1 lesson for Goodnight Moon.  And Hansel and Gretel as a sample lesson for grades 2-3.
*
Last week I was introduced to a third version of a Read Aloud that involves many of the phases of a lesson using Gradual Release of Responsibility.  Here are the planning stages for a TCRWP Read Aloud.

Planning a Read Aloud

1.    Read the text as a reader first

  • Spy on yourself and take notes on post-its
  • Where do you react strongly?
  • Where do you have a new insight?
  • Where do you revise your thinking, etc.?

2.   Decide if there are particular skills or strategies your class really needs to see modeled. *Check CCSS standards

  • Defining vocabulary in context
  • Noticing author’s craft

3.  Choose the post-its that model the skill you want to model and have students practice.

  • Decide what parts will be interactive
  • Decide where you will pause
  • Decide where you will have students turn and talk
  • Use prompt sheet for support

4.   Rehearse it

  • Check that it “feels” right
  • Check that it “sounds” right

Did you notice the subtle differences?  Which one do your students need to be using themselves as they read? Increased understanding of the simultaneous processes used by powerful readers may mean a shift in your use of read alouds.  What will be both efficient and effective for your students?

Caution 1:

How does this read aloud fit into my 90 minutes of reading instruction (or 60 minutes of reading workshop)?  It doesn’t under the model proposed by the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project(TCRWP).  The read aloud  is both outside the workshop time and in addition to the workshop time!  Yes, one more thing to be included in the busy school day.  Reading workshop time is predominantly for student “work” with less teacher talk time!  That work time is the necessary “practice and game time” for students to work through text with the coach (teacher) by their side so they can successfully accelerate through the rigor of the expectations of the CCSS.  

Caution 2:

So if a read aloud is NOT going to be a part of instruction and work time, what do I use for my focus lesson during reading workshop?  At TCRWP, a mini-lesson is a part of reading workshop.  Is it the same as a read aloud?  What’s different? Check out the features listed in the chart below.

Read Aloud

Mini – Lesson

The teacher reads aloud to students in order to model  and demonstrate all of the strategies that characterize proficient reading.The teacher could do a focused read aloud where one or two major strategies are popped out.A read aloud is interactive:

  • Think aloud
  • Turn and talk
  • Stop and jot
  • Stop and add on
  • Stop and sketch
  • Stop and take notes
  • Explicit teaching
  • 8-10 minutes
  • Follows clear architecture
    • Connection
    • Teach
    • Active Engagement
    • Link
    • Students go off to read independently
      • Teacher confers and pulls small groups
      • Mid-workshop teaching
      • Share
      • Could do an inquiry or GRR lesson
For your reflection:
  • Are you currently using read alouds for instruction with your students? If yes, which format is similar to the one you are using?  If no, which format will work best in your classroom to provide the robust instruction that will increase student learning?
  • CCR Reading Anchor 1 demands “close reading” by the students that will require explicit modeling and instruction in order to avoid being another example of “assigning” reading. Students may need some initial scaffolding with sentence frames in order to practice  oral language structures for this work. Read Alouds can and should be a part of that instructional sequence!  Consider how Read Alouds can help meet the goals of the other nine CCR Reading Anchor Standards!

How can you increase the effectiveness of your own Read Alouds?  What are you planning for this next year?

Advertisements

4 responses

  1. […] "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." (William Shakespeare) Read Alouds have had an important place in education and the lives of our students sinc…  […]

  2. […] Read Alouds have had an important place in education and the lives of our students since Jim Trelease published his first book about read alouds in 1982 (more information about his work here). Some other names that have been used to describe read alouds include:Shared readingClose readingCross text read aloudInteractive read aloud  […]

  3. […] Read Alouds have had an important place in education and the lives of our students since Jim Trelease published his first book about read alouds in 1982 (more information about his work here). Some other names that have been used to describe read alouds include:Shared readingClose readingCross text read aloudInteractive read aloud  […]

  4. […] Read Alouds have had an important place in education and the lives of our students since Jim Trelease published his first book about read alouds in 1982 (more information about his work here). Some other names that have been used to describe read alouds include:Shared readingClose readingCross text read aloudInteractive read aloud  […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Doing The Work That Matters

a journey of growing readers & writers

Present Perfect

adventures in multiple tenses

Leadership Connection

from Great Prairie AEA

The Blue Heron (Then Sings My Soul)

The oft bemused (or quite simply amused) musings of Krista Marx -- a self-professed HOPE pursuing Pollyanna

Middle English

Life as an English teacher leader

steps in the literacy journey

Walking the Path to Literacy Together

arjeha

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Resource - Full

Sharing Ideas, Strategies and Tools

Joel Pedersen

be that #oneperson

adventuresinstaffdevelopment

All Things Literacy! Brianna Parlitsis

TWO WRITING TEACHERS

A meeting place for a world of reflective writers.

elsie tries writing

"The problem with people is they forget that that most of the time it's the small things that count." (Said by Finch in All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. These are my small things that count.

I Haven't Learned That Yet

This blog serves to document my path of learning and teaching.

Simply Inspired Teaching

A blog by Kari Yates

Reflections on Leadership and Learning

Sharing my learning experiences

AnnaGCockerille Literacy

The Generative Power of Language: Building Literacy Skills One Word at a Time

Reading to the Core

Just another WordPress.com site

Karen Gluskin

My Teaching Experiences and Qualifications

To Read To Write To Be

Thoughts on learning and teaching

Books and Bytes

Exploring the best of literature and edtech for the middle grades.

To Make a Prairie

A blog about reading, writing, teaching and the joys of a literate life

Raising Voices

Thoughts on Teaching, Learning, and Leading

%d bloggers like this: