by: Victoria Neff

“A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.”

Read Aloud

The purpose of a read aloud is to model how students should read a book, but it is in a more informal, non-instructional way. First, pointing out the author and title, then going through the book. It is important to read with expression and to stop only a few times throughout to ask questions based on the events. The questions tend to be more geared toward purpose and also opinion. The teacher models how a book should be read by just reading. According to Fox, from Stead’s article, Nurturing the Inquiring Mind, “If we want our children to read anything- let alone to read more or to read more diverse or more difficult material- it helps immeasurably if we can give them as much experience of he world as possible” (p.1). The point is to expose the children, as a whole class, to a story that they can pay attention to and enjoy listening to by the use of the teacher’s fluency and expression.

Fox, M. (2001) Reading Magic: Why reading aloud to children will change their lives forever. New York, NY. Harcourt.

Stead, T. (2004) Nurturing the Inquiring Mind: The Inside Track.

One Day at a Time: Book

This was a short book, but it teaches  a lesson in a more nonchalant, relatable way. The children relate to life concepts easier if it is represented to them in a story format. By stopping at a few points and asking them to share what they think or any experience they have, they feel that freedom to open up and relate to the book.

When I read this book to the class, they shared ideas that connected to their own lives.  By reading books like this to children, it helps them to know that there are others who may be feeling the same way.  They may be more willing to share their own view points without being discouraged or embarrassed about their feelings.

This is one example of how read aloud can inexplicitly teach a lesson in a fun way.

Dear Mrs. LaRue: Book

This book is one that always keeps children entertained. It is written in a different format, although it still tells a story. It is written by separate letters from a dog who is trying to persuade his owner to pick him up from obedience school. This can be an introduction to word choice for persuasive writing. It is a book that captures the children’s attention by how it is structured in letters and not just a narrated story.

When I read this book to my class, I used it to introduce a writing lesson that I was going to do with them. It gave the children a different way to learn about a new topic, in this case, persuasive writing. I pointed out specific words that the dog used in his letters back to his owner that made his viewpoint strong. By doing this, it helps them create their own style of expressing what they are persuading.

Shared Reading

Shared reading gives children the guidance to become independent readers. The teacher shows strategies that connect the ideas of a story. The teacher also points out print conventions and helps with word recognition as she is reading. This is done in a small group so that the children’s focus can be attained and their questions can be answered. Shared reading can help students feel more motivated to read because it offers different ways to interpret the text. The overall goal is to model ways to read the text effectively- how to note along the way, use language recognition, etc.- so that when the students are reading on their own, they are able to retain the most information as possible.


A short nonfiction article:

Reading a piece of nonfiction works well for shared reading because there is always something new to learn. Since the concepts are true facts, it is also a way for students to get motivated to be interested and keep their focus in a more relatable way to their own lives. There tend to be a lot of vocabulary words that are put into the language of a nonfiction text, which gives children the opportunity to explore those concepts and take note of their importance.


A short realistic fiction article:

Realistic fiction tells a story of something that did not actually happen, but could happen. Children could more likely pay attention to the storyline if it is in this style, because it is still a story. It is also a story that they can relate to and figure out new vocabulary words from based on experiences in their own lives.

I did a short realistic fiction story with my students for this shared reading assignment, and I thought it was a great way to model how to analyze a text and to dig into the details of character emotions and reasoning throughout a story.

Independent Reading

The beauty of independent reading is that it is done because of self-motivation. No one tells the person how, when, where, or what to read, and there is no prompt to be turned in. independent reading is done by students who were guided to get the most out of books. They must have become interested in a topic on their own and have decided to explore their curiosity on their own time and dedication. It is important to have a fun, yet effective way of teaching reading, so that the outcome of the amount of students who love to read on their own is greater. If children do not feel forced, a lot of times they will be more likely to achieve what they are able to according to when they want to do it. Giving children some freedom is key to keeping their curiosity sharp, and their motivation higher.

Library book on their level:

Letting children pick out a book from the library that interests them helps them be more motivated to read it. It creates a sense of freedom within a child, knowing that this time, a teacher isn’t reading with them or monitoring what they do. Giving children this freedom is important to their development and also their ability to practice skills with no monitoring.

At my field site school now, the children have library as a special every Friday, so they get to pick out a book on their level. This is a great opportunity for children to explore new genres and have the freedom to choose.


Library book on a higher level:

It is always beneficial to let children explore different leveled books because they are able to read something that they can read fluently and that they can comprehend, while practicing word recognition. Just because a book is on a lower level does not mean that it is not good practice. It is good practice, especially for fluency. A child wanting to read a higher book will give them that extra boost of motivation to work hard up to that book to where they can understand it. It can also teach them new vocabulary and how to pronounce bigger words. Every so often it is great to provide children with higher books so that they can see where they will be, even when they are not there yet.

When I have my own classroom, I will consider this idea of the students challenging themselves individually. I think it is important to model, as a teacher, that you can conquer anything you put your mind to.

Guided Reading

The purpose of a guided reading lesson is to teach students strategies that they can use when they read independently. The first part of guided reading is the teacher introducing the book and pointing out places where the students can predict. It is also an opportunity for the teacher to emphasize the importance of text features and connect the topic to real life. According to Fisher in the article, Teaching Comprehension and Critical Literacy, “It can be seen that guided reading provides an excellent context for the specific teaching of inferential and evaluative reading strategies” (p. 20). Once the students read on their own, the teacher’s attention is given to each student individually, one at a time, while they read. During this time, the teacher is able to guide the student to read with fluency, expression, and how to use strategies for decoding words. This one on one time allows for students to have “think time” as they each read to the teacher one at a time.

Fisher, A. (2008). Teaching Comprehension and Critical Literacy: Investigating Guided Reading in Three Primary Classrooms. Literacy, 42.

Small group and same level:

I have found that this technique works to help guide students as they read out loud. The teacher spends time with individual students, and the whole group, as they are all reading the same book. The teacher can help the children work on whatever skill is needed as a group. This means that all students are listening to each other read and they are listening to children answering comprehension questions by the teacher. It is a good way to learn from one another as a student because there may be a word or an idea that is not well understood by one student, but another student can help as they all go along.

I have learned a lot from my mentor teacher right now about how to lead a guided reading group and connect everyone’s ideas together to make an effective lesson for all students in the group. I have started working with one of the guided reading groups in my class, and I will continue this the rest of the year to get more practice with leading a small group lesson.


Small group and different levels:

By using this strategy of guided reading, the teacher is listening to every student read one at a time. Although everyone is in the same group, each student is reading their book that is a different level. While the teacher works with each student, the others are reading to themselves so they are considered working independently.

I have not had a lot of experience with this type of guided reading, but I do find it crucial in terms of the children’s development because they can all learn to come together as a community of learners, even with different books and different goals. They can learn early on that even though everyone might be focusing on different things, they can still accomplish what they need to and build knowledge off of one another that will be beneficial.