October 8, 2013

Interactive Read Aloud Significance

I teach 8th grade Language Arts.  I do Interactive Read Alouds with my students daily.  So yes, on a DAILY basis, I am reading out loud to my students.  This was one of my goals to improve my teaching from last year to this year.  In my opinion, students/adults are NEVER too old to be read out loud to.  Also, there are crazy benefits and curriculum tie ins to doing IRA's with students.  Here they are:


1.  When doing a Reading Minilesson, I use examples from our IRA to model the concept being taught in the minilesson because it is a common text that all students are familiar with.  For example, if the minilesson is "Readers recognize themes in literature so that they can identify the big ideas of the story," I would model this to students by talking about themes in our IRA.

2.  I find IRA's to be really helpful with "Writing About Reading."  When students write about reading in regards to an IRA, it is a quick and easy formative assessment for me to see if they're understanding the reading concept that I'm asking them to write about.

3.  During Word Study, I use IRA's to pull mentor sentences out and have students notice what the author is doing in the sentence as a basis for teaching grammar and mechanics.  Conversations around what writers do and noticing it I have found to be extremely helpful when teaching concepts that I had previously lectured and given worksheets on.  This has been working and transferring into their writing and every day language much more effectively.

4.  I also use IRA's as a form of standardized test preparation.  My students will be taking the Wisconsin state test (WKCE) at the end of October.  I am now beginning every class period with a question similar to one they would see in the reading portion of the WKCE.  The questions are based on an excerpt from the IRA that I printed off for each student.

5.  IRA is a time to teach students to enjoy reading, discussing reading, and thinking about reading.  When I stop during an IRA I am either modeling my own thinking about the text, asking students to turn and talk about something in the text, or opening up a question or comment for a full-group discussion.  Students are thinking within, beyond, and about the text each day.  I have also noticed that for some of my reluctant readers, they are completely into the IRA.  I think a part of this is because they're experiencing success with the text.

6.  Listening skills are enhanced from IRA.  Students have to key in to the reading and engage in the discussion surrounding the text without the actual text in front of them.  It is a totally different way to experience reading.

So those are just a few reasons why I highly recommend using Interactive Read Aloud in your classroom.  No matter the age of your students, there are still many benefits.  Whether you want to read a short story or a novel with your class, tomorrow is a new day to start something that you've never tried before or lost touch with in your teaching.  Pick out an engaging text and start reading...

12 comments :

  1. I've meant to start a novel with my class allll year, but you know how it goes . . . always something else to do! The thing that stinks about this with my 6th grade Language Arts classes is that we're on block scheduling, so we only see each other every other day. Anyway, I did make it to the public library this past Saturday and picked out 8 different MG novels. I'm going to let each class vote on which one they want to do starting next week. It will be interesting to see if there's a clear favorite among everyone after previewing them. I tried to pick across the genres. So I may be reading 7 different novels or one . . . should be fun :-)

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    1. I definitely DO know how it goes with always having something else to do. I have found this year that I have to name my priorities daily and be committed to meeting them. I've also found that I'd rather do a few things in depth each day versus trying to do absolutely everything. I love your idea of selecting several novels and letting them vote. I'm sure your students will love that! Let me know which books they pick!

      Kasey

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  2. We are finishing up Maroo, and my kids are all asking, "What are we going to read next?" They still love being read out loud to, and prefer it to audio books. Educationally, it is so important for them to have good reading modeled for them on a daily basis. But most importantly, I think it fosters a loving and nurturing environment - no matter what the grade level.

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    1. Well they must love it if they're already asking what's up next! :) I completely agree with you on that it fosters a nurturing environment and definitely just a love of reading as well!

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  3. How long is your Language Arts period? Do you have a 80/90 minute block or a single period?

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    1. We have an 80 minute block daily to teach reading/writing/word study.

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  4. I will be teaching 7th and 8th grade English next year. One teacher will be teaching Reading and I'll cover the grammar/writing class. Is this something you think I could incorporate into my classroom? Also, are the students doing anything while you read?

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    1. IRA is really something that can connect and complements reading and writing. When used for writing, IRA's would be in the form of mentor texts. The students are listening and "taking it in" so to speak while I'm reading. I do stop every once and awhile though to pose a question, model my thinking, have them turn and talk about a subject in the book, etc.

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  5. I've been doing read aloud's with my class but it was just for the sake of reading and fluency. I really like the idea of the IRA for these various aspects of literacy. Do you make copies for the students to follow along?

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    1. Hi Khadiyah,

      I actually don't have students follow along with the text. The reason for this is because I have my students read and have exposure to text in a variety of contexts in my classroom. Independent reading, guided reading, literature circles, interactive read aloud - all are unique and have a different purpose in helping students build their strategic actions surrounding their reading. Interactive read aloud is intended to give students exposure to text so that they can listen and only have to concentrate on the meaning of a story without having to solve words, decipher the text, etc. One thing I do, however, is sometimes I will copy off a passage for a close reading activity to complement the IRA.

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  6. I learn so much from you! Started an IRA with 'Out of My Mind' and my 6th Graders were entranced. Looking forward to seeing how this develops.

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    1. That is SUCH an amazing book. It really puts life into perspective! You will love reading it with your students. Thank you so much for your kind words!

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