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Why you should incorporate read alouds into your ELA lessons
MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2015 10:32 AM

Reading is commonly seen as an independent activity, but in English/language arts classrooms at every grade level, group reading can be an engaging way to cover both fiction and instructional texts. In fact, read-aloud lessons are effective for building skills and keeping students involved in the lesson each day. Additionally, with the Common Core State Standards' emphasis on instructional texts, read alouds can even be implemented in science and social sciences classrooms to ensure a better understanding of sometimes difficult nonfiction works. Here's why read? alouds should be incorporated into lesson plans:

They build fluency
Especially with younger students, reading aloud helps build basic skills, like developing a fluent cadence and increasing knowledge of tough vocabulary words (including how to recognize them, how to say them and what they mean). Read alouds during poetry or drama lessons may help students become even more fluent with their grasp of language and its rhythms, and older students can benefit from reading aloud instructional texts that may have more difficult language. 

They encourage critical thinking
When students read independently, their brains are functioning a little differently than when they or their classmates are reading aloud. During group readings and the following discussions, students must learn to recognize key concepts quickly without having the opportunity to reread passages. They must be able to listen to, comprehend and analyze texts, often all at the same time. This strengthens students' critical-thinking and critical-reading abilities. 

They get everyone involved
Read alouds are consistently found to engage more students than independent reading activities. That's because everything is done out loud, which makes students with lower-level reading abilities feel like they're still in the loop. Even students who struggle to read as quickly as their peers may benefit from encouragement during a group reading. Plus, read alouds lead directly to class discussions, with little confusion about what part of the text is most important to the overall conceptual understanding of it. Even if students don't seem engaged in the conversations following the readings, they're still likely gaining an understanding simply by listening to what's going on around them.

They build writing skills
Discussions about big-picture concepts aren't the only ones that benefit classrooms during read-aloud lessons. Whether you're teaching fictional literature, poetry or instructional texts, reading aloud helps you discuss things like vocabulary, sentence structure, voice and flow with your students. All of these topics can help students build their writing abilities, especially on a more detailed level. Developing a better vocabulary or sense of voice, for instance, will lead to overall improved writing, no matter what style of paper.