Using Interactive Read-Alouds in Your Classroom

Do you use interactive read-alouds in your classroom? They are one of my new favorite activities to do with my class. I find so much joy in reading through my picture books to find the right book and plan out my read-aloud. 

plan interactive read-alouds

What Are Interactive Read Alouds?

Interactive read-alouds (IRA) are planned and focused readings of a text. This is different than pulling a book off of the shelf to read when you have 10 minutes to spare in class, or coming in after lunch and reading a chapter book aloud. Interactive read-alouds are intentional. They involve a teacher finding text that is engaging, has robust vocabulary, and has a planned focus skill. The text you choose can be fiction, nonfiction, or even poetry!

Fountas and Pinnell describe what interactive looks like in a read-aloud. “The term interactive refers to the active learning that occurs while reading aloud high-quality literature. It characterizes the teacher and students having a conversation as they process the text together. It provides students an opportunity to extend their understanding through talk. This talk provides evidence of their thinking.” (Fountas and Pinnell, 2001, 2011)

Planning Your Interactive Read aloud

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So are you ready to transform your read-alouds? I break the planning process down into five simple steps. The first step is to find text that you think your students will love, and hopefully integrate into your academic units.

books on a table

Second, sit down and read the text yourself. Look at your standards, does this book address any of them? Choose a skill or two as a focus. The third step is to pick out vocabulary words that you would like to address, preferably words that are found across content areas (tier 2 words). Next, pick out stopping points where you can have discussions with your students, think-pair-share, and even have them act parts out. Finally, decide on an extension activity that you can do with my students. I try to come up with an extension activity that reinforces the focus skill that I planned for the read-aloud. I have a form that I use to help me plan my interactive read-alouds. You can grab yours below.



Let’s Read!

It’s time! You have your read-aloud planned, you are ready to go. My students have a talking partner, so during turn and talks, they have a pre-determined partner. I spread my interactive read-alouds out over a few days. On day one, I introduce the book and the skill we will be focusing on. I read the book, using stopping points to have meaningful discussions about the text or vocabulary. We ask questions and dive deep into the text. The next day, I reread all or part of the book, depending on the length of the book, and review any important parts I want to revisit. We begin each day by reviewing our purpose. Day two and beyond is when I do an extension activity. This may include a class-made anchor chart, writing, craft, etc.

You should be all set! Start picking out those books and planning your interactive read-alouds! If you are looking to save time, you can check out our interactive read alouds in The Teacher Bag Store.


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