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Primary Junior Literacy Teacher Resources

A guide to resources that support the teaching and learning of Language, Grades 1 to 6.

Benefits of Read-Alouds

1. Motivate students to read

2. Build topical knowledge

2. Effective strategy for building the knowledge required for success in reading

Selection Criteria

"The selection of materials to be shared in read-aloud sessions is critically important." (Flemington, Hewins, Villiers, Journey to Literacy, p. 23)

Do you, for any reason, feel uncomfortable reading the book aloud?  If you do, then select another book -- a book that you will enjoy sharing.

Traditional Read-Aloud, or, reading for the purpose of enjoying language and story

  • engaging story that matches the interests and needs of your students
  • stories that match the emotional development of your students
  • stories that contain rich language, (consider selecting award winners:  Newbery Medal, Forest of Reading, see Canadian Children's Book Centre's Best Bets for Kids and Teens, CanLit for LittleCanadians)
  • stories that feature beautiful art (again turn to award winners: Caldecott Medal, Forest of Reading, Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award)
  • vocabulary that will support language development -- choose texts a little above students' own reading level,
  • engaging story that promotes active listening, stories that provide opportunities for deeper thinking beyond simple plots,
  • stories that extend students' understanding of the world and people in the world,
  • models of powerful writing, especially classics or tried and true stories,
  • stories that offer the reader appropriate text for modeling fluency and expression,
  • rhyming books and humorous stories encourage a love of language
  • consider the number of pages & length of time required to read text

Guided Listening and Interactive Read-Alouds are intentional teaching strategies:

  • all the criteria for traditional read-alouds, plus consider stories that you and your students will want to return to for re-readings
  • look for stories that will encourage making connections:  text-to-self, text-to-text, text to world
  • look for stories that will provide you with opportunities for intentional teaching:  making inferences and predictions, identifying main ideas, visualizing, synthesizing, questioning, and texts that will supply evidence and allow students to find supporting details
  • select stories that provide an opportunity for a clear use of the reading strategy you are introducing or focusing on (so that students see the strategy at work and can then practice the strategy during their independent reading time)
  • select texts that connect to the work you are currently doing in your balanced literacy program (such that the purpose of the read-aloud can be clearly introduced and connected to other work that day and then follow-up independent reading or writing connects to the strategies modeled and provides opportunities for practice)

Nelson Literacy Kits at the Kindergarten level use the interactive read-aloud model. 4 picture books are included in every kit.

Non-Fiction Read-Alouds:

  • select informational texts to introduce and connect to your content curriculum 
  • choose information texts that allow you to model how non-fiction differs from fiction (you don't start at the beginning and read through to the end -- you use the Table of Contents, Index, Headings, sidebars, and so on.
  • choose stories that will inspire curiosity about the subject being introduced or taken to deeper level

Use NoveList Plus

novelist plus logo

Need a quick book recommendation or an idea of the reading level for a particular grade?  NoveList Plus includes curated lists of suggested read-alouds by grade level.

Or, do your own search for "read aloud*" and then limit by ages, fiction/non-fiction, date, and maybe writing style, or whatever your purpose is for reading the book aloud.

Selection Takes Time! this open access Choice Literacy article, Franki Sibberson describes her thinking as she works through possibilities for the all-important first read-aloud in her Grade ? (I'm guessing 3) classroom.  The titles she considers are listed below.

E. B. White Read Aloud Award

e b white award winner

Picture Book Winners

2017 back to 2001

Start Reading!

i read canadian book challenge

World Read Aloud Day

Sponsored by LitWorld, the next World Read Aloud Day is Thursday, February 8, 2018. LitWorld is a non-profit organization that aims to improve literacy worldwide. Celebrate this day in your classroom too.