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7 Interactive Read Aloud Tips for Success

7 Interactive Read Alouds Tips for Success

Thinking about getting started with interactive read alouds in your classroom? They are must! Interactive read-alouds are a valuable way for teachers to engage students in meaningful discussions and promote comprehension skills.

So what is an interactive read-aloud?

An interactive read-aloud is a dynamic and purposeful reading activity that engages students in high-quality literature. During an interactive read-aloud, the students are actively involved in the reading process. This approach goes beyond a simple read-aloud; it encourages students to think critically, ask questions, make connections, and discuss the content. Pausing at strategic points to pose discussion questions, explore vocabulary, and model reading comprehension strategies is an important part of the interactive read-aloud experience. 

I love using interactive read-alouds because they promote a deeper understanding of the text, provide models for students to engage with their own texts as they independently read, and foster a love of reading. 

Want to get started using interactive read-alouds in YOUR upper elementary classroom? These seven must-try tips will help you get started!

1. Choose Age-Appropriate and Engaging Text

This first step is so important! Be sure to select books or texts that are appropriate for your students' age and reading level and captivating and relevant to their interests. Engaging texts are more likely to hold their attention and spark meaningful discussions.

Picture Books and chapter books both make amazing interactive read-alouds for students. You can select fiction, nonfiction, and even poetry picture books. Since picture books are much shorter than chapter books, they are my go-to. 

Not sure where to find appropriate picture books for upper elementary? I have some lists of favorites that you and your students will love!

 ➡️Rather start interactive read alouds with a chapter book? These chapter books are always class favorites!

    chapter books for upper elementary read alouds

    2. Use the Voices and Make the Sound Effects

    The best part about the read alouds are different voices and sound effects that you can use to not only hook students, but to show them what fluent reading sounds like! I love to have a box of props next to my read aloud chair that I can use to help me as I read. Items I include are bells, clapping hands, and a rain shaker or shaker filled with rice. But, you do not need anything fancy! Just your voice, hands, and feet do the trick to bringing the read aloud to life. And yes, if there are silly voices and singing going on in the story, do them! You will make your students smile and love reading.

    3. Revisit the Book Again and Again

    Yes, I am going to say it again! Picture books should be read again and again and again!

    We read picture books in my classroom multiple times, each time with a different purpose. It does NOT get boring. The kids know we are rereading it with a different lens each time, so their thoughts and discussions change. Plus, since they already know the story, their reflections are more meaningful and are often filled with connections.

    When you reread previously read picture books, you help students:

    • focus on the skill or objective of your read aloud lesson instead of trying to comprehend a new story AND master a new skill
    • understand that good readers reread books and texts over and over to learn something new, better understand what was read, or just for enjoyment
    • build confidence in their reading comprehension and retell/summarizing skills

    ➡️See how I use one read-aloud picture book in many different ways right HERE.

    👉 Grab this FREE guide with my favorite picture books for interactive read- alouds! 

    It includes several different topics that you can use for each book, allowing you to read and re-read each book over and over again.

    free guide for interactive read aloud book suggestions

    4. Plan Ahead and Annotate the Text

    Before the read-aloud, read the text in advance and annotate it with key points, questions, and discussion prompts. This will help you guide the conversation and highlight important themes, vocabulary, or literary devices that you want to focus on.

    Prior to reading aloud, I also create an interactive anchor chart that will be used during the reading. I do not always do this for all read-alouds. However, I have the chart ready to go for more challenging concepts that I will bring up and teach during and after the read-aloud. This works perfectly for topics like making predictions, making inferences, and understanding character traits.

    When annotating or prepping questions ahead of time, I make sure to have questions for each level of Bloom's taxonomy. Using sticky notes is a great way to do this! Especially because you can use those sticky notes again by leaving them on the pages, ready to go for next year!

    prepping for interactive read aloud annotation questions

    5. Encourage Active Participation

    Using interactive read-alouds helps you to foster an interactive atmosphere by encouraging students to participate actively. As you read, frequently stop and ask the predetermined open-ended questions, ask for predictions, and invite students to share their thoughts, feelings, and connections to the text. Use prompts like, What do you think will happen next? or How would you have reacted in this situation?

    Giving students a specific read-aloud buddy or partner sets up the expectation of who they will be speaking to during the read-aloud. As time goes on, students build trust and relationships with their read-aloud buddies, making their conversations deeper and more meaningful.

    Keep the conversation going between your students and their partners by creating an accountability bulletin board that provides appropriate discussion stems that can be used for any read-aloud! These work wonders in my classroom and truly help my students discuss literature in meaningful ways. 

    questions for students for Interactive Read Alouds

    6. Model Comprehension Strategies

    While reading, model effective comprehension strategies such as making predictions, visualizing, making inferences, and asking questions. Show students how skilled readers think critically about the text and how these strategies enhance understanding. The more you show them, the more they will carry out those strategies as they read independently

    7. Build Classroom Community

    The best part of using interactive read alouds in your classroom is that it builds classroom community! 

    Kids, even our big kids, love to gather as a class and get cozy listening to the soothing sounds of their teacher reading aloud. Use your read-aloud time as a way to remind, practice, and instill the idea that your classroom is a safe and respectful space where students should feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and opinions. Emphasize that there are no wrong answers and that listening to and respecting others' viewpoints is essential during the discussion.  Reading aloud to the whole class provides a sense of togetherness and allows true community bonding to take place!

    Incorporating interactive read-alouds in upper elementary classrooms can transform reading sessions into thought provoking and enjoyable learning experiences, enhancing both literacy skills and a love for reading. While these tips will get you started, remember to tailor your approach to your students' specific needs and interests while keeping the conversation lively and engaging.

    Looking for more read-aloud companions?
    Look HERE!

    interactive read aloud book ideas for upper elementary

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    7 Interactive Read Alouds Tips for Success

    affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)


    Fall Activities for Kids - 5 Engaging Ideas for Upper Elementary

    Fall Lesson Ideas for 3rd 4th 5th Grade Students

    There is nothing more exciting for students, even our upper elementary students, than the change of seasons! 

    That is why welcoming the season of fall into my classroom is a must!

    Our big kids still love learning about the seasons, holidays, and what is happening outside of the classroom. Infusing seasonal themes and topics with content and standards you already have to teach will ignite engagement and increase student participation.

    Bringing the seasons into the classroom goes beyond a quick fall craft to display. Using seasonal activities does not mean you have to give up rigor, critical thinking, or grade-level standards.

    Instead, it is the opposite!

    When you usually seasonally themed activities to enhance tasks you already have to do in the classroom, will you notice:

    • an increase in student interest and motivation
    • an increase in student participation
    • an increase in the quality of student discourse
    • students making connections

    Does this sound too good to be true? It is not!

    You and your students can reap the benefits from seasonal learning this fall with these simple yet meaningful tips to welcome the season of fall into your upper elementary classroom.

    1. Create a Fall Environment with Purposeful Decor

    Fall Bulletin Board 3rd 4th 5th Grade SEL Kindness

    Transform your classroom into a cozy, inviting, fall-themed space using meaningful decor like student work and fall-themed kindness posters. Displaying student work is highly motivating for students. It also provides a deadline for students, helping them complete their fall writing pieces on time! 

    I love to use student fall-themed writing projects to decorate the walls of my classroom. When displaying student writing, be sure to have students create colorful illustrations to accompany their writing. 

    Want to display YOUR students' amazing writing? Try these writing projects:

    No matter the season, I always display inspirational kindness posters like these. I love using simple fall kindness posters with a positive message to display all season long!  And since they are NOT holiday-specific, it is inclusive for all students in your classroom!

    Want to add a touch of fall to your classroom with decor? You will love these FALL GOODIES!

    2. Read a Fall Themed Picture Book

    fall read alouds for 3rd 4th 5th grade

    If you know me, you know I LOVE read alouds! I truly can find a read-aloud for every holiday, season, special event, historical moment, or topic that needs to be addressed in the classroom. Display autumn-themed picture books, poetry, and nonfiction books about leaves and pumpkins around your room. This not only serves as a way to engage and motivate students to read, but it also adds a pop of color and fall decor to your room!

    You can use picture books to engage students throughout the season, changing focus each month. It is a great way to weave in different reading and writing standards and serve as mentor texts for your ELA lessons.

    Read about my favorite read-alouds for each part of the fall season:

    Upper elementary students love read-alouds. Use the above books during your interactive read-aloud time to help enrich students' day with valuable modeling of what readers do as they read!

    3. Learn Through Themes

    Fall themed activities for kids Johnny Appleseed

    Infuse your curriculum with fall-themed lessons and activities! So many seasonal topics and fun holidays during fall relate to the standards you already need to teach, making it easy to get creative with fall themes. Some of my favorites include:

    By simply using fall topics during reading, your students will be more engaged and make connections to what is happening outside the classroom...all while  increasing their reading comprehension skills.

    4.  Take Learning Outside

    Fall Bulletin Board 3rd 4th 5th Grade

    Take advantage of the pleasant fall weather by getting outside with your students! Organize nature walks to observe and collect fall leaves, acorns, and pinecones. Use these items for art projects like leaf rubbings or science investigations.

    One writing activity I love to do with students each fall is going on an autumn walk! As we walk, we notice and make observations using our five senses. Students record their observations and use them to create a descriptive writing piece about a fall setting. After writing, students create a colorful fall setting illustration to match. These make an adorable bulletin board that you can leave up all season long!

    The best part about doing this activity in the fall is that the descriptive writing skills that the students learn during this project carry over into future writing pieces that they create! 

    Grab a free fall activity, perfect for outdoor exploration this fall!

    5. Sprinkle in the Fun

    Fall Fun Ideas for Kids

    Who doesn't love to have fun, especially in the fall? Fall is a time to have fun and enjoy the changing leaves, weather, and season! I love to infuse meaningful coloring activities to practice skills and keep students critically thinking.

    These coloring activities are perfect to use as morning work, indoor recess tasks, end-of-day calm down, centers, sub work, or any way YOU want! Try these...

    By incorporating these tips, you can create a warm and inviting learning environment that not only welcomes the season of fall but also provides opportunities for students to explore and appreciate the unique aspects of this time of year. These ideas will increase student motivation, participation, and learning. Happy fall!

    You will also love reading:

    Check out my favorite fall activities HERE


    Fall Reading Activities for Kids

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    Fall autumn lesson ideas for 3rd 4th 5th grade students

    *affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)


    7 Ice Breakers for the First Day of School in the Upper Elementary Classroom

    7 Ice Breakers for the First Day of School in the Upper Elementary Classroom

    There is so much to plan during back-to-school season. 

    From curriculum to meet the teacher night and everything in between. That is why I love to use these tried and true simple icebreakers with my upper elementary students. Not only are they fun and engaging, but they are unique, so chances are your students have not done them before! 

    There are many benefits to using icebreakers in the classroom

    Icebreaker activities can help create a positive classroom environment, foster connections, and build a sense of community among students. Some benefits include...

    • Students immediately begin to feel comfortable in the classroom
    • You get to know and build relationships with students from day one
    • Students get to know each other quickly
    • Your classroom community is beginning to form

    Read on to learn about 5 simple icebreakers that you can use in your upper elementary classroom this back-to-school season! These activities are designed to encourage participation, develop communication skills, and make the transition back to school smooth and enjoyable.

    1.  Four Corners

    Four Corners is a fun icebreaker game to help elementary students get to know each other better. It's a simple and interactive activity that promotes movement and social interaction in the classroom.

    • Before starting the game, assign each of the four corners of the classroom a number (1, 2, 3, 4). You can use 4 pieces of colorful construction paper with each number 1-4 to display the numbers clearly in each corner.
    • Have all the students gather in the center of the classroom.
    • Display a getting to know you question on your smartboard or simply read aloud a question to strengthen listening skills.
    • Pick simple questions on topics that the kids love to talk about, like favorite season, favorite sport, favorite drink...just topics to get the kids chatting in the corners!
    • Display four choices, each matching a number 1-4. (what is your favorite season 1= winter, 2 = fall, 3 = spring, 4= summer)
    • Students answer the question in their heads and go to the corner with the number matching the selected answer.
    • Repeat the process for each new question you ask!

    Four Corners is a fantastic icebreaker game that will help energize the classroom and create a friendly atmosphere, helping students to see all they have in common with their new classmates.

    2.  What is Your Name? What is your initial?

    I LOVE completing a variety of name activities at the beginning of the year, even in upper elementary classrooms. I love to read the Name Jar and complete name reflection activitiesGrab the free name activity here.

    A fun twist on name activities that you can use to decorate your room is the My Name is activity. For this activity, simply...

    • Go around the room and have the students say, My name is ____, it starts with the letter ___, and the letter ____ is for____.
    • Example: My name is Jeaning, it starts with the letter J, and J is for jumpy!
    • Whatever word they select should represent a bit about them. It is a jumping-off point before the next activity.
    • Once all students share, pass out big bubble letters, giving each student the letter that their first name starts with.
    • Students then decorate the letter with pictures, words, phrases, magazine clippings, and crayons to represent them. Have them cut them out and then proudly display them around your room.
    • This is a fun in class or at home project for the first month of school

    Go one step further and have each student share their letter and explain different elements that they used to decorate it.

    Grab free bubble letters to try out this activity!


    back to school read aloud upper elementary

    3.  Same, Same, But Different Read Aloud

    Bust out the Venn diagrams for a fun and interactive reading of this picture book! This book follows two young pen pals, one lives in America and the other lives India as they learn about each other and realize how they are the same, but different. This book perfectly celebrates recognizing each others' differences and similarities...que the Venn diagram!

    Have a big stack of Venns copied and ready to go for some "Speed Venn Diagramming." Circulate the kids around the room until they can complete a Venn diagram for every new classmate. 

    Go one step further and reread this book for reading, writing, and word work lessons on: 

    ✅ Reading: Comparing and Contrasting

    ✅ Writing: Personification

    ✅ Word Work: Decoding Multi-Syllabic Words

    ✅ Back to School Focus: Building Friendships

    Take a look a the interactive read-aloud pack HERE.

    first day of school activity teacher quiz

    4. Teacher Quiz

    The kids get a kick out of having their "first test" on the first day of school when that test is all about their teacher! It is fun, easy, and the kids love it!

    • Create a T/F quiz about yourself with a mix of interesting tidbits that the kids can relate to.
    • I use about ten questions. (see the template here)
    • Have the kids take the quiz and then go over all the questions.
    • Engage the kids in discussions about your facts to see if you share anything in common with them! 
    • Go one step further and have the kids write a sentence about themselves on the back and then ask YOU if you think it is true or false.

    The kids love learning about what they have in common with their new favorite teacher!

    5. Two Truths and a Lie

    "Two Truths and a Lie" is a classic icebreaker activity that encourages students to share interesting facts about themselves while trying to trick their peers. Here's how to implement it:

    • Divide the class into small groups or pairs.
    •  Instruct each student to think of two true statements and one false statement about themselves.
    • One by one, students share their three statements with their group without revealing which statement is false.
    • The group discusses and tries to identify the false statement for each student.
    • After a few rounds, encourage students to share the false statement and explain the truths to get to know one another better.

    This activity helps students get acquainted with their classmates and develop critical thinking and listening skills.

    find someone who activity first week of school

    6. Find Someone Who

    "Find Someone Who" is an interactive icebreaker activity that encourages students to communicate, mingle, and discover commonalities among their peers. Here's how to use this idea:

    • Distribute a "Find Someone Who" worksheet or create a grid on the board.
    • Provide a list of statements or characteristics, such as "Find someone who has a pet" or "Find someone who enjoys reading."
    • Instruct students to walk around the classroom and find classmates matching the criteria.
    • Students can ask questions and discuss whether their peers meet the criteria.
    • Once students find someone who fits the statement, they can sign or write their name in the corresponding box on the worksheet or board.
    • When students complete all the boxes, they are done! Bonus points for those who finish first!

    This activity promotes active participation, communication, and collaboration while encouraging students to find shared interests or experiences among their peers.

    about me bag for the first day of school activity

    7. About Me Bag

    The "About Me Bag" activity allows students to express their individuality, interests, and aspirations through a creative and visual project. Here's how to give it a try:

    • Provide each student with a picture of a brown paper bag or an actual lunch bag
    • Instruct students to create a collage using magazine cutouts, drawings, and written descriptions that represent themselves, or you can have the students fill the bag with three items that represent themselves.
    • Encourage students to include elements such as their favorite hobbies, aspirations, favorite books, or places they have visited.
    • Once the bags are complete, allow each student to share their collage with the class, explaining the meaning behind their chosen elements.
    • Hang the collages around the classroom as a visual representation of the diverse personalities and interests within the class.

    This activity not only allows students to express themselves creatively but also provides an opportunity for their peers to learn more about each other.

    Icebreaker activities are valuable tools for establishing a positive and inclusive classroom environment at the beginning of the school year. By implementing these simple icebreakers, you can help upper elementary students connect with their peers, develop communication skills, and create a welcoming classroom community. 

    These activities set a positive tone for the year ahead, laying the foundation for a successful and engaging academic journey.

    You will also love reading:

    Check out my favorite back-to-school activities HERE

    Like this one filled with community building and getting to you know activities that kids love!  

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    7 Ice Breakers for the First Day of School in the Upper Elementary Classroom


    9 Classroom Birthday Celebration Ideas for Upper Elementary Teachers

    9 Classroom Birthday Celebration Ideas for Upper Elementary Teachers

    When it comes to celebrating birthdays in the classroom, I love to go all out! Making a big deal of a student's birthday goes a long way to helping you build relationships with your students. When you include the rest of the class in the celebration, it helps strengthen your classroom community.

    Even our "big kids" in upper elementary love to be recognized on their special day. By doing the following, you will be helping to make your kids' birthdays one they will always remember. Prep for all of your students' birthdays this back-to-school season with these easy-to-implement ideas.

    Try all these or any combination to make birthday celebrations in your classroom the best days of the school year.

    Birthday Bulletin Board Display

    1. Celebrate with a Display

    Who doesn't love to see their name displayed? A birthday display is a great way to show your students your interest in them and their special day. It also serves as an important reminder of the birthdays that will occur during the year. We all know how hectic the teacher life can be, so any visual reminder to help me remember important days is welcomed!

    2. 10 Minutes of Fame

    I love the 10 minutes of fame concept that we do for each student's birthday. It is super simple, but it always makes the birthday child smile!  Just ask the birthday student what they want to do with the class for 10 minutes of fame in honor of them and their special day. 

    These are the choices I give my students:

    • Play a class game of hangman, four corners, or seven up
    • Have 10 minutes of free time
    • Watch an educational video for 10 minutes
    You can add anything to this list that your students like!

    3. Make a Goodie Bag

    I love prepping goodie bags for students' birthdays before school even starts. Over the summer, I grab different fun items I see at the dollar store, Target, or Amazon. By the time the week before school arrives, I have a collection of fun little goodies for the kids to put into goodie bags. I make enough for the class and keep them in my closet. When each special day arrives, I simply pull out a bag and am good to go!

    Here are some examples of things I use to create student birthday goodie bags:

    I wrap them up with colorful string and attach a quick note from myself.

    I avoid food or candy in the bags for a few reasons. I make the bags beforehand, so I do not want food in the closet all year. Also, our school has a food wellness policy, and candy is prohibited. Additionally, as a mama of a child with a severe food allergy, staying away from unneeded food in the classroom is the best way to include all children.

    Birthday card for student from teacher and from class

    4. Send a Card

    Don't overlook sending a birthday card to your students! They can take it home from school and always cherish it, especially when you include the rest of the class.

    I love to write out special birthday cards, like these, for each student on their birthday. Just print, cut, and fold, and you have a "real" card for your students from you!

    I also use a full-page card, like this one, for the birthday child from the whole class. Simply print it and keep it on the back table. Have the kids come up one at a time to write a quick, positive birthday message for the birthday child. The last student to sign it delivers it to the birthday child. These are always a hit with my students.

    The handwritten notes go a long way in making the birthday child feel special!

    5. Read a Special Book

    A few years ago, my school moved away from birthday celebrations in the classroom, which included parents/family bringing in cupcakes and sweet treats. Instead, one family member is invited to read a book the class. I love this new tradition! We love having family in the classroom, especially in the upper grades, to celebrate the children. If parents are not permitted in your school or simply cannot take the time off from work to come and read, invite the child's family to send in a book to be read in the child's honor. You can read the book, or the birthday child can read the book. This makes for a nice, relaxing, and calm way to celebrate!

    Need some read-aloud suggestions? Try these!

    birthday word search and fun student packet from the teacher

    6. Student Activities: Fun Book and Birthday Poster

    On a student's birthday in my classroom, they are excused from completing morning work. Instead, they complete the birthday fun pack! They absolutely love it! To create this, I simply copy the following pages and staple them into a booklet:

    • Birthday coloring page (I use as the cover)
    • Birthday word search
    • Birthday Doodle Thinkers Activity
    • Birthday About Me Poster

    The birthday child works on this booklet throughout morning work. By the end of the day, they share their completed birthday about me poster. It is a simple way to make the birthday child feel extra special!

    7. Sing!

    My students always call my singing time embarrassment time! I get a good laugh every time they say it! I make a big deal of singing to each child. The birthday child is called to the front of the room, they sit on the stool, state if they want cha-chas or no cha-chas, and we get to belting out a class sing-along of Happy Birthday. It is so much fun, and we all laugh. Don't skip singing; even in fifth grade, my students love it!

    8. Decorate Student Desk, Cubby, or Locker

    Nothing says Happy Birthday like some decorations! Grab some streamers and get decorating! I love to decorate the birthday child's chair with streamers. It is simple, fun, and easy to clean up! Other options include wrapping the child's desktop with birthday wrapping paper, or decorating their cubby or locker with notes and streamers. These little touches make a big difference.

    9. Summer Birthdays? No problem!

    As a summer birthday myself, I know how important it is to be recognized and celebrated by your peers on your special day. For summer birthdays, we celebrate each child on their own day during the last two weeks of school. I like to celebrate as close as possible to their actual birthday.

    Another option I know many teachers do is to celebrate half-birthdays. The choice is yours, but please include summer birthday celebrations before the school year ends. 

    Birthdays are an important part of the year. Not just for kids but for all of us! Just because your students are getting older does not mean they do not want to celebrate. In fact, it is the opposite. Once the year's first birthday is celebrated, the rest of the kids can not wait to have their birthday celebrated in class, too! Enjoy your students and their special days with these simple ideas that leave a lasting, positive impression.

    You would also love to read:

    Looking for classroom decor to kick off your school year? See more HERE.

    back to school classroom decor

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    9 Classroom Birthday Celebration Ideas for Upper Elementary Teachers

    *affiliate links: “Think Grow Giggle is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.” (source: Section 5)


    6 Benefits of Interactive Read Alouds with Upper Elementary

    6 Benefits of Using Interactive Read Alouds in Upper Elementary Classroom

    If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that reading picture books with my upper elementary students is totally my thing! There is just something about gathering together and listening to a powerful story told through rich vocabulary and beautiful illustrations that truly makes the day brighter!

    Interactive Read Alouds (IRAs) are a powerful instructional strategy that can bring literature to life and engage students in meaningful discussions. While commonly used in early elementary classrooms, IRAs offer numerous benefits when implemented in upper elementary classrooms. 

    I know you will love using Interactive Read Alouds with your students as much as I do, so grab the FREE pack below!

    6 Benefits of Using Interactive Read Alouds in Upper Elementary Classroom

    Now read on to find out the top 6 benefits of using interactive read-alouds with students in your upper elementary classroom!

    1. Enhanced Comprehension Skills

    Interactive Read Alouds provide a unique opportunity for teachers to model and reinforce essential comprehension skills. By strategically pausing during the reading to ask open-ended questions, make predictions, or analyze characters' motivations and feelings, teachers can guide students toward a deeper understanding of the text. These discussions allow students to make connections, infer meaning, and develop critical thinking skills, leading to improved comprehension and analytical abilities.

    2. Increased Vocabulary Development

    One of the main benefits of interactive read-aloud is the exposure to rich and diverse vocabulary. Upper elementary students are at a crucial stage in their language development, and by reading aloud high-quality texts, YOU can expose them to sophisticated vocabulary beyond their current reading level. Through discussions and context clues provided during IRAs, students can expand their word knowledge and improve their overall language skills, which will significantly benefit their reading and writing abilities. The more they listen to books with rich language, the more those words trickle down into their writing pieces!

    IRA tips and strategies 3rd grade 4th grade 5th grade

    3. Fostering a Love for Reading

    Interactive read-alouds create a positive reading experience for students and help foster a love for literature. By selecting captivating texts and utilizing engaging reading strategies, you can captivate students' interest and make reading something that your students look forward to doing each day. It can help students build relationships with the characters that they meet, helping them realize that they are not along in many of the thoughts and feelings that they experience themselves.  Sharing their enthusiasm for books during interactive read-alouds can inspire students to explore new genres, authors, and topics independently, cultivating a lifelong love for reading.

    4. Development of Listening and Speaking Skills

    Interactive read-alouds provide an ideal platform for students to develop their listening and speaking skills, which is so important! By actively participating in discussions, asking and answering questions, and engaging in dialogue with peers, students learn to express their thoughts and opinions effectively and appropriately. They learn how to engage in one on one discussions with a reading partner and learn how to build off of someone else's ideas. This process enhances their oral communication skills, encourages active listening, and promotes respectful and thoughtful interactions within the classroom community.

    5. Save Valuable Classroom Instructional Time

    We are always looking for more time in our teaching day, am I right? If you are like me, you can't wait to pull out a new picture book and share it with your students! But...instead of always reading a new picture book, reread a previously read picture book again and again, each time revisiting the book with a new lens: read as readers, read as writers, and read as word-smiths.

    When you reread previously read picture books, you help students:

    • focus on the skill or objective of your lesson instead of trying to comprehend a new story AND master a new skill
    • understand that good readers reread books and texts over and over to learn something new, better understand what was read, or just for enjoyment
    • build confidence in their reading comprehension and retell/summarizing skills

    Revisiting books is not just fun and beneficial for students; it saves YOU classroom time!

    IRA for older kids

    6. Social-Emotional Growth

    Literature often provides a gateway to explore social and emotional themes, and interactive read-alouds can serve as a valuable tool for addressing these topics. By selecting books that depict diverse characters and tackle relevant issues, you can initiate meaningful conversations about empathy, kindness, resilience, friendship, and so much more. These discussions not only promote social-emotional growth but also create a safe and inclusive classroom environment where students feel understood, valued, and connected. We all want more time in our teaching day to get in social emotional topics, and picture books truly help us bring more than just reading into our day.

    Not sure what books to use with your upper elementary students? Grab this FREE list of my favorites with the skills that we focus on for each book! 

    Interactive read-alouds have the power to transform upper elementary classrooms by fostering comprehension skills, expanding vocabulary, nurturing a love for reading, developing communication abilities, and promoting social-emotional growth. By implementing this instructional strategy effectively, teachers can engage students in meaningful conversations, create memorable reading experiences, and equip them with the necessary skills to become lifelong learners. As educators, let us embrace the power of interactive read-alouds to inspire, motivate, and empower our upper elementary students on their educational journey.

    Looking for more read-aloud companions?
    Look HERE!

    IRA teaching tips and strategies

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    IRA teacher tips for effective use

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