Teacher Toolbox

reading out loud

Read out loud on a daily basis. Reading out loud exposes children to the different rhythms of language, different uses of words, and supports vocabulary and language comprehension.  Also, reading out loud to children provides practice learning to sit and focus on a speaker.

  • When selecting a book to read out loud to children, select a book a little above their independent reading level.  This will expose them to new vocabulary and pique their interest in a subject.
  • Select a story connected to a topic that is studied in class.  This will help to provide exposure to the topic through a different perspective.  
  • Vary the types of books you choose to read to the class.  Read poetry, letters, biographies, informational texts, and a variety of fiction and narratives.
The American Library Association (ALA) provides useful information on selecting appropriate books for children. 
  • When reading out loud, periodically stop and have the children tell what they think will happen next or tell about their favorite character.  This will encourage connections to prior knowledge and to link ideas.
  • When finishing a reading out loud session, make sure to stop at a high point.  This will entice the children to want to hear more of the story next time.
  • Carefully monitor the children’s reactions during the read out loud sessions to help determine when to end a session and begin the next activity.
  • Begin the next out loud reading session by reviewing what happened previously in the story.  Use guiding questions to help the students gather and connect the informationThis will help the children engage with the story line.
  • The amount of time to read to a class depends upon the age.  Begin with 10 minutes of reading out loud to kindergartners and gradually increase the time. Children in the 2nd grade should be able to sit and listen to a story for about 15 minutes or longer; however this depends upon the children’s exposure and focus skills. It may be beneficial to read out loud for two short sessions during the day rather than one long one if children are young or still learning to sit and listen. Gradually increase the amount of time (up to 30 minutes) as the children become able to sustain focus.
  • Reading out loud is a useful activity to support transitions from high level activities to more focused academic activities, such as preparing the children to shift focus on instruction after attending physical education class.