The Importance of Read Aloud

Do you read aloud to your kids everyday? Once upon a time in my classroom, read aloud was something I did if I had time, not a regular part of my schedule. I had all the reasons for skipping it- we had too much to get done, we had to get prepared for "the test", etc., etc., ...

I don't recall the exact moment in time that my perspective on read aloud shifted, but boy did it shift! I realized just how valuable that time spent in my classroom was. I figured it out. 

Read aloud time provides me with so many opportunities... 

1.) It allows me to BOND with my students. I am able to build relationships with my kids over our shared love of the books that I read aloud to them. We laugh together, try to figure out mysteries together, worry about the characters together, and often times we cry together (I have yet to get through Stone Fox without crying- huge dog lover here). At the end of the year...

I want my kids to remember me as their teacher that loved to read to them 
and the connections we made together over books. 

2.) It inspires CONFIDENCE. For me, one of the greatest things that happens during read aloud time is the magic that happens for my struggling readers- especially the kids who struggle with decoding. Those are the kids who reading is so hard for because they can't enjoy a book because they have to try SO HARD just to figure out what the words say that they can't even think about the meaning of what they are reading. During read aloud they are on an even playing field with everyone else. When they laugh at a funny part, or are outraged when someone is treated unfairly in the story, or when they worry about what is going to happen next when the characters that have become their friends are in peril, they are connecting with text in a way they can't independently. Those are the moments that are like gold! 

A few years ago I had a kiddo that had a learning disability in reading and read aloud was her "time". She had great comprehension. She got the jokes in the stories that would go over most everyone else's head- she would laugh out loud! It was the best sound. And when we would stop to talk about a plot point- she was a leader in the discussion. During read aloud she could hold her own with everyone else and that was such a confidence booster for her. 

3.) It INTRODUCES kids to all kinds of great books. It broadens their horizons! Through read aloud I am able to choose the books I want my kids to experience. I choose carefully- trying to find books that will touch them in some way. I mix it up- choosing books from a variety of genres, books that are funny, sad, suspenseful, books that appeal to both boys and girls, classic books from my childhood. We are always discussing what I am going to read next. I try to take an informal poll so that I am not reading something that they have heard before. I try to choose authors that have many books, so that after we finish reading one- they will be dying to read others by the same author. Some books I read every year, others are new- we have a set of books called KC3 that are award books the kids get to vote on. I have found some great new ones while reading those. 

Here is a list of my favorite read aloud books. It's a mixed bag- some sad books, some suspenseful, some funny (but all great in my opinion)...

Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L.Konigsburg

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

Frindle by Andrew Clements

Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley (these are addicting as there are 
9 books and each one leads into the next) 

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look

A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements

Runaway Twin by Peg Kehret

Thomas and the Dragon Queen by Shutta Crum

I know that teachers are feeling so much pressure these days. The testing and assessments that are being forced on teachers and kids are ridiculous. It is so easy to let the "fun" stuff or "extra" stuff go. But I want to encourage all teachers to hold on tight to those things that you know are good for kids. Fun is good for kids! Hearing great stories everyday is good for kids!

What are some of your favorite read aloud books? 


  1. There are so many good ones! I love Wonder, The One and Only Ivan, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, and Tiger Rising.

  2. Yes- Wonder is fantastic! I haven't ever read The One and Only Ivan- I will put it on my library list. Thank you for stopping by! -Kim

  3. My fifth grade teacher was passionate about read alouds. I still remember most of the books she read to us, so I'd say they're pretty powerful: Where the Red Fern Grows, The Tripod Series by John Christopher, and The Cay.
    Not very fancy in 1st

  4. Deb- How neat is it that you still remember the books that were read aloud to you in the 5th grade! -Kim


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