Read Alouds Are More Important With Distance Learning

With distance learning, read alouds are more important for students than ever.

Read alouds…

  • Help bring the community together
  • Foster a more profound sense of connection
  • Support us in feeling seen
  • Can give us more hope
  • Inspire kids to become lifelong readers

There’s so much power in books. Whether kids are in TK or 8th grade, they may not have many books at home. For this reason, read alouds are crucial. In an ideal situation, we’re doing live read alouds with kids and recording them to send to kids who couldn’t attend live.

Recently, we recorded some videos of one of our staff developers reading aloud. One is with a children’s book called Leonardo the Terrible Monster. The others were read alouds using video clips. Whether you use books or video clips for reading, you have the opportunity to do incredible comprehension work.

You can use them to model what proficient readers do to prepare to read, how to handle confusion, what to do with thoughts and ideas as they pop up, and what they think about when they finish a book or video.

These read aloud practices are easier to do live, but there are some ways you can record a read aloud and still engage students.

Here are some tips to integrate read alouds into distance learning: 

  1. Set them up with a partner — either someone at home like a sibling, parent, or caregiver (even a stuffed animal).
  2. Pause during parts of the book or video to think aloud. Model the types of thinking a reader would do to make sense of a text.
  3. Choose parts where you want to stop and have kids engage with the text. These will be the parts where they turn and talk with a partner or stuffed animal.
  4. If you’re reading live, and you feel comfortable (or have a coach, AP or principal who can pop on with you), try sending them to breakout rooms for a brief time to talk.
  5. If you’re pre-recording a read aloud, ask kids to pause the video, turn, talk with their partner or stuffed animal, and say, “I bet some of you were saying/thinking…” and say the things you would hope they’d say or think.

Here’s a sample clip from Vivian, one of our Staff Developers to give you an idea.

K/1 read aloud

2/3 video read aloud

5-8 video read aloud

Educators who attend our Virtual Reading Institute will learn how to create videos like these and more!

What to read during distance learning.

When kids are learning at home, think about what types of feelings kids may have, and find books that support them. Some kids may be feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or scared. Some may be making deeper connections with their family. Look for books that include these types of messages. Here are some books to Help Calm Anxiety, and some books to reassure kids during uncertain times.

This June, we’re hosting our first-ever Virtual Reading Institute

One of our keynote speakers, Lester Laminack, is passionate about read alouds and how they can affect our kids. He has written professional books on the topic: Bullying Hurts, and The Ultimate Read Aloud Resource. He has also written some picture books for kids that have beautiful messages.

To learn more on the topic of read alouds, join us at our summer institute! We are so lucky to have Lester as one of our keynote speakers this year!

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