Choosing a Read Aloud

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A lot of people ask me- how do you select a read aloud. It is not an easy task and there is quite a bit of criteria that should go into selecting your read aloud.

When I select a read aloud, I make sure I only look at books that are a year ahead of where they need to be at the current time. Here is how it works. They come into 5th grade reading on a level S (IF they are on grade level). I still do a year ahead even if some are behind grade level. If it is August and when they enter Grade 5 they should be reading a Level S- in a year August- they should be reading on level V. The books I select are one year in advance so it’s a level U or V. As the year progresses- I move through the levels. Now- this is how my district wants it. I don’t agree with the leveling system but this is how we have to do it.

In addition to one year ahead- I like to make sure I hit every single genre throughout the year. It is a really hard task (especially with nonfiction) however- if you look you will find. I search for a long time finding books that will go with a theme. They aren’t always a cohesive book with the theme however- the chapter book (read aloud) ALWAYS goes with the mini-lessons.

The last thing I do is I read the book. It sounds silly but I have met several teachers that looked at me like I was crazy when I said I read the book before hand. There are several reasons why.

  1. If I don’t like it- the kids probably won’t either.
  2. If I don’t read it-how will I know the skills to tackle?
  3. If I don’t read it- how will I know what happens (like the good parts?)

It is super important that you read the books. I have heard of GREAT books and then when I read it- I can’t get into it. Or…they are written as poems and that’s too hard for them to understand. OR there is cursing or using inappropriate language. It’s always best that you read the books first.

Just to recap- here are my top 3 things to do when selected a read aloud.

  1. Level it a year above where they need to be.
  2. Choose multiple genres throughout the year
  3. Read it yourself.

What are some tips that you may have? Leave a comment below so others can see great ideas!

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