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Laptop Work-3.jpgAs educators, we understand the value of reading aloud. It provides students with opportunities to increase their own fluency, vocabulary and comprehension. However, for some students it is a terrifying event.

Flash back to my reading group in 3rd Grade…. I was sitting next to my teacher and it was my turn to read aloud to the group. I began reading, but just I started several students (not in our group) were causing problems in the class. My teacher was talking to them, but I continued to read and finished my passage. My teacher missed hearing me read; I was asked to begin again. I read the passage again the same as I had the first time. This time students from my reading group began to laugh at my mistakes. I was mortified! This experience was devastating to my self-esteem and caused a fear of reading aloud for many years. Eventually, I was able to overcome my fear and ENJOY reading aloud to my students. This post will provide possible solutions to “How can teachers provide a safe environment for our students, yet give them opportunities to help gain reading confidence and fluency?”

Non-traditional popcorn reading vs. Traditional popcorn reading  I discourage the use of traditional reading aloud because it tends to have a negative effect on those with anxiety. These types of students tend to focus less on the passage and more about when they will be called on. In a non-traditional popcorn Simply, ask for volunteers and allow students to “pass” without consequences. Or you could ask students to use the signal of “thumbs up” if they want a turn. 

Peer reading/buddy reading This encourages students to experience listening to others and gain confidence while reading in smaller groups.  You can pair students up in a variety of ways. Keep it new!

Whisper phones Basically the students read into the phone and hear themselves.  I loved using these with my 1st and 2nd grade students. You can even make your own whisper phones by using a pvc pipe and two elbows. 

Voice Recording This provides individual time and helps build confidence. Students can record as many times as they want and “turn in” their best. 

Progress Monitoring Assessing your student’s ability to read aloud is part of their fluency. Giving students time to practice hearing their voices with the above activities, will help them do well on their progress monitoring passages. Track and show students’ their progress!

Choose great resources. Your students will love to read these books aloud.

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By Beth Zappitello ISBN: 9781410307545 Sleeping Bear Press

From the publisher, “Once upon a time a dog traveled the globe in search of the perfect home. He visited many countries, learned interesting facts, and made new friends. And he did find that perfect home …at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, to be precise. A very special address with a very special family. And now at Christmastime, Dog learns that his new home hosts a very special holiday party. With a lot of important visitors on the guest list, it’s going to take a lot of preparation to get this “house” ready for the holidays. It’s all paws on deck to make sure everything is in order, from the sparkling tree in the Blue Room to the delicious gingerbread house in the State Dining Room. But Dog is curious about how the rest of the world celebrates and he asks his international guests to share their favorite holiday traditions. And when the festivities start there’s no stopping these tail-wagging partygoers!”.

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By Dara Goldman ISBN: 9781627530477 Sleeping Bear Press

From the publisher, “Boris is a musician, playing the songs he learned growing up in Russia. Stella is a baker, baking cakes and pastries like her father used to back in Italy. Boris and Stella live in the city and are best friends. They like movies, hats, and each other. At holiday time, Stella wants to give Boris the perfect present for Hanukkah. She wants him to know how special he is. Boris wants to give Stella the perfect present for Christmas: she means so much to him. But perfect presents cost money and their bank savings contain very little. To make their dreams of perfect presents come true, Boris and Stella each sacrifice something very special. In a nod to O. Henry’s, The Gift of the Magi, comes this tender story celebrating traditions, friendships, and gifts from the heart.”

These are just a few ideas that have worked in my classroom. We love to hear from our readers, what other read aloud strategies have worked for you?  

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