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By Margaret Knowlton
Read alouds, or reading books aloud to children, is an essential component of an effective literacy program, and one that we use at The Grace School on a daily basis. Read alouds allow children to hear and see the thinking that experienced readers, such as teachers, do as they read.
As a teacher reads, they model their thought process, questioning, predicting, analyzing and making connections. In addition to modeling effective reading strategies, this practice allows children to become engaged in a text that would normally be above their reading level, providing opportunities to hear someone read with fluency, expression and inflection.
The more we read to children, the more they learn new vocabulary in the context of a story and internalize the practices of active reading, making it instinctive when we ask them to read.
Having parents and caregivers read aloud to children every day is crucial to their development as readers, writers and learners, too. You can read a chapter or two from a novel, short story, section of a non-fiction text or a picture book.
As you read, feel free to ask your child a question or to make a prediction about what is going to happen next. You can also explain vocabulary to them as you come across a word that your child does not know. Most often, it doesn’t matter what you read to your child, as long as you read with them.
Margaret Knowlton is the Head of School at The Grace School in Providence.