Professional Development

April 2, 2017

Why Interactive Read Alouds are Powerful

Interactive read alouds are one of my favorite parts of  our day!  It’s a time for us to gather close, emulate the bedtime story time that so many kids do not get at home, and recreate that intimate time. It’s the time that I get to model how to think like a reader.  I also invite the students to interact with the text along the way and/or after reading.  Plainly put, interactive read alouds are powerful.

Interactive read alouds are one of the most powerful parts of our day. Students are able to observe what good readers do and how they think!

Why Interactive Read Alouds?

  • Model fluent reading
  • Grow schema
  • Model our thinking
  • Model our love of reading
  • Model what proficient reading sounds like
  • Develops their interest in books
  • Builds book knowledge
  • Exposure to genres
  • Builds strategic readers

What Do I Teach During This Time?

During this time, you are modeling how to think like a reader, proper fluency, and then inviting the students to practice the strategy along side you.  They will also summarize and shape thoughts about the story.   If you are wondering how this is different than shared reading, I wrote about this a bit HERE.

You will choose a text that helps you teach a specific reading strategy.

  • Make Connections (building schema)
  • Predicting
  • Inferring
  • Questioning
  • Determining Importance
  • Visualizing
  • Synthesizing
This reading strategy checklist is great to use during interactive read aloud to let yourself know and keep track of when students have displayed an ability to use a reading strategy.

I liked to keep a checklist handy and to keep track of when students had mastered each reading strategy. 

Choosing a Book

Interactive read alouds are one of the most powerful parts of our day. Students are able to observe what good readers do and how they think!

When you are choosing a book it’s important to remember that you ALWAYS choose the book with the strategy in mind–strategy over book. We all love things to flow and be thematic, but that just doesn’t always get the job done well.  Another thing to remember is that the book will be on the students’ listening level, not their reading level.

What Does a Lesson Look Like?

3 simple parts:

  • Introduce strategy
  • Model aloud thinking and using the strategy
  • Invite students to participate or share their thoughts
  • Send students off reminding them of the skill taught and encouraging them to practice it on their own during independent reading time
    Interactive read alouds are one of the most powerful parts of our day. Students are able to observe what good readers do and how they think!

With all of this in mind, how could this time of day NOT be a favorite? My students were always glued.  Books are brought to life during interactive read aloud. They see how much fun reading truly is and how much joy it brings.

If you want more help mastering your interactive read aloud lessons, I have several resources to help you: Questioning Interactive Read Aloud Lessons or Making Connections Interactive Read Aloud Lessons.

Each unit has:

  • Interactive Read Aloud Notes 
  • Reading Strategy Notes
  • Example Teaching Schedule
  • Reading Strategy Anchor Chart
  • Reader’s Toolbox Strategy Tool
  • Scripted Lesson plans

There are more to come! Save now by purchasing the Growing Bundle with all seven units. Grab them today and be set to implement powerful interactive read alouds.

Interactive read alouds are one of the most powerful parts of our day. Students are able to observe what good readers do and how they think!

The Read Aloud Library

Do you want to make the most of your interactive read alouds, but find yourself struggling to find books, write lessons, and come up with activities? Do you want to teach your readers to think deeply about the text and develop strong reading strategies and skills?

I’d love to introduce you to The Read Aloud Library! If you want 20 interactive read aloud lessons and activities delivered to you each month, you’ll want to check out The Read Aloud Library.

A peek at what you can expect each month!

With your membership, each month you’ll receive:

  • 6 Interactive Read Aloud Lesson Plans that teach a reading skill or strategy, a sticky note template with teacher prompts ready to go for the book, and a 3-4 day pacing guide for each book
  • Vocabulary cards, student vocabulary activity page, and vocabulary sticky notes with words and definitions for each lesson
  • 12 Student Reading Response Notebook Activities
  • 2 Reading & Writing Crafts that coordinate with 2 of the lessons
  • Easily Accessible Organized Digital Library of Lessons
  • Exclusive Access to a Reading Strategy and Skill Video Library Series to Help Support You

Click HERE to learn more about The Read Aloud Library and join hundreds of other teachers!

Happy Teaching,



Want to use the latest research to boost your readers during small groups? Thisย FREEย guide is packed with engaging ideas to help them grow!

Hi, I'm Amanda

I’m a K-1 teacher who is passionate about making lessons your studentsย loveย and that areย easy to implementย for teachers.ย ย Helping teachers like you navigate their way through their literacy block brings me great joy. I am a lifelong learner who loves staying on top of current literacy learning and practices. Here, youโ€™ll find the tools you need to move your K-2 students forward!


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26 Responses

  1. Hi,
    I love your post and all of your resources. Thanks for the freebies. I was wondering what you have in your Readers Toolbox that is shown in the picture?

    1. Hi! I created a visual aid for each of the skills to help the students have a concrete representation of the strategy as suggested by Stephanie Harvey in her book. (I believe it was her’s! I read so many!) This one is a microphone and is a part of the lesson plan unit that I sell for that reading strategy. ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. I am wondering how you use your checklist that you show for the different strategies? What do the numbers mean that you wrote by their names (i.e. 12/7, etc.)? I want to make something similar but am just wondering how to go about it. Are you marking by their names all on the same day or on different days just when they use that skill correctly…?

          1. Hi Amanda,

            Do you have a link to the checklist? I’ve been trying to find something similar and yours looks perfect!

  2. How do you know the students have mastered the strategy?

    What would be some of your questions that you would ask during IL?

  3. Hi there!

    I teach 4th grade and my team just discussed the importance of interactive read alouds and how we need to incorporate them more in our literacy block. Do you have a list of books that correlate with each strategy?

    Thanks for your input!

    1. Hi Sydney! I do not have a list that I share at this time. The list I have worked to compile is exclusive to the trainings that I do.

  4. Hi Amanda,
    I teach kindergarten and wondered if you think this packet is appropriate for them. I realize each lesson is tailored to a specific book to teach the strategy, but Iโ€™m wondering if you include a list of alternative books to teach each one?


    1. Hi Cindy! I do not have an alternative book list, but I do think the strategies and methods used to teach and model the reading strategy can easily be applied to any text. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think changing the books to some more Kinder friendly books would be perfectly fine!

  5. Hi Amanda. This is my first year teaching K. I thought preschool for 19 years and was a K teacher in residence last year. I have my own class this year your resources have been so helpful. Do you now have the strategies for read aloud available now please? I have attended your webinar and bought your guided reading bundle. Thank you

    1. Hi Helene! Can you remind me of what exactly you are looking for? I have a feeling we have chatted before, but I can’t recall exactly what you are looking for. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am happy to help! Amanda

  6. Do you have other lessons beside โ€œquestioning โ€œ looking for lessons to help teach character traits and other lessons

    1. Hi Diane! I have plans for them and they are pretty detailed plans, but have not gotten to them at this time. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I just love what you do!
    I was wondering if you had a list of mentor book for each reading strategy and lesson plans for:
    Make Connections (building schema)
    Determining Importance

    Thank you

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