One main purpose of reading out loud is to show your students that you like to read for pleasure. Modeling reading with expression and excitement shows your class that you value reading and find it enjoyable. This is a great way to connect with your students and to show them a different side of you as well.
Another purpose of doing read alouds is to help teach reading strategies to your students. Making predictions is one of the best ways to involve your students in asking them what will happen next. You can also include summarizing in think-pair-share activities at the end of each read aloud. It is a great way to make connections to what is happening in their lives or the world around them too. Read alouds are great teaching tools for reading strategies.
We have found various devices to be effective in keeping students' attention during read alouds. If the setting of the story is at night, we turn off the lights, close the blinds, and read either by candlelight or flashlight. The students love this and it can add an element of suspense/fright to the read aloud.
If there is time in the day and the weather is nice, we have taken our classes outside for read alouds. They love to be able to stretch out, breathe the fresh air, and relax while listening to the story. It's also a great way to break the monotonous routine of a normal school day.
If possible, we sometimes include background music during different parts of the story. You can search different types of music (happy, scary, sad...) on youtube and have it playing while reading.
Probably our favorite part of reading out loud is reading with expression. We like to change voices and tones depending on the characters in the story. Our students enjoy this, and they look forward to listening to what character will speak next.
Another fun idea is to allow students to draw a picture related to the story while read alouds are occurring. Students love to draw and color pictures. The pictures make nice displays in the classroom as well.
A final activity that we love to do after finishing a novel is to have a class celebration. Recently we celebrated A Whole Day of Holes based on the book Holes by Louis Sachar. We incorporated many subject areas into this day and the students had a blast.
We hope you can pick up a few ideas to use when you do future read alouds with your class. If you have any great ideas please share below as well!