Interactive read-aloud is an important instructional context that allows readers to experience rich, interesting texts that are age-and grade-appropriate, regardless of their independent or instructional reading level. In order to get the most instructional power from interactive read-aloud, it is important to plan for teaching in a precise way. Here are some guidelines to help you select books for interactive read-aloud.
- Look for texts that you know your students will love (funny, exciting, connected to their experiences, able to extend their thinking.)
- Select texts appropriate to the age and interests of your students.
- Select texts that are of high quality (award winners, excellent authors, high-quality illustrations).
- Plan selections so that you present a variety of cultures; help students see things from different perspectives.
- Choose texts that help students understand how people have responded to life's challenges.
- Consider books on the significant issues in the age group--peer pressure, friendship, families, honesty, racism, competition.
- Especially for younger readers, select texts that help them enjoy language--rhythm, rhyme, repetition.
- Select different versions of the same story to help students make comparisons.
Evaluate the texts to be sure the ideas and concepts can be understood by your students.
- Plan selections that appeal to both boys and girls.
- Mix and connect fiction and nonfiction.
- Repeat some texts that have been loved by former students.
- Vary genres so that students listen to many different kinds of texts--articles, poems, fiction, informational texts.
- Select informational texts, even if they are long; you can read some interesting parts aloud and leave the books for students to peruse on their own.
- Choose texts that will expand your students' knowledge of others' lives and empathy.
- Choose texts that will help students reflect on their own lives.
- Select texts that you love and tell students about them.
- Select texts that build on one another in various ways (sequels, themes, authors, illustrators, topics, settings, structure).
- Link selections in ways that will help students learn something about how texts work.
- Select books that provide good foundations for minilessons in reading and writing.
- Consider the curriculum demands of your district; for example, link texts with social studies, science, or the core literature program.
- Select several texts that help listeners learn from an author's style or craft.
- Select texts that offer artistic appreciation.
- Select fiction and nonfiction texts on the same general topics.
- Consider "text sets" that are connected in various ways--theme, structure, time period, issues, series, author illustrator, and genre.
From Teaching for Comprehending and Fluency by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Copyright (c) 2006 by Irene C. Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell. Published by Heinemann.