Sneaking Strategy Lessons into Your Read Alouds

Do you read aloud to your children every day, but wonder what you can do to sneak in a little extra learning?  Reading aloud is a wonderful opportunity to share a few quality minutes with our children snuggling and enjoying a book.  But, did you know you can easily transform a read aloud into an instructional moment with very little prep and without your child even knowing that he may be learning something, too?  All it takes is a few questions before, during, and after reading.

Before Reading

  • What do you already know about (topic of book)? (activating background knowledge)
  • Look at the picture on the cover and the title of the book.  What do you think is going to happen? (making predictions)

During Reading

  • As you read, confirm your child’s prediction.  Was it correct? If not, discuss what happened instead.
  • Ask your child questions to clear up points of confusion as you read.

After Reading

  • What does this book remind you of?  (making connections to the text)
  • Ask your child to retell you the story.  What happened at the beginning?  The middle?  The end?   (summarize the text)

These questions touch on common comprehension strategies that good readers use to understand text.  If we emphasize and model how to use some of these strategies at home, we begin to create a solid reading foundation for our children.  A few questions and you’ve “kicked it up a notch”!

If you would like more information on teaching common comprehension strategies to your child, I suggest reading 7 Keys to Comprehension: How to Help Your Kids Read It and Get It! by Susan Zimmerman and Chryse Hutchins.

This post originally appeared as a guest post on Classroom Talk.

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

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5 Responses to “Sneaking Strategy Lessons into Your Read Alouds”

  1. Beth Zemble Says:

    Great tips. Sometimes asking kids “what does this remind you of?” leads to such surprising connections. An open-ended question such as this one can give real insight into one a child is comprehending (or not) because the connections they make might be very insightful or they might demonstrate that he or she hasn’t gleaned the most relevant information from the reading. If your child is stumped and can’t make a connection, try asking follow up questions that are more specific: “What did it remind you of when the main character did x, y, or z?” “Have you ever felt the way the character felt when a, b, or c happened?”
    Focusing questions on a particular character’s behavior or activities, might help a child more readily see the connection to something that she or he has read or experienced.

  2. Terry Doherty Says:

    I love this Dawn! I would also add encouraging them to look at the illustration to see if they can find a picture of the word that starts with the same letter … not just rush in to “help” them by telling them what that big word is.

    • Links to Literacy Says:

      Excellent point, Terry! When my son was learning to read, he looked to me often to tell him a word if he didn’t know it. I always asked him to “use his strategies.” Sounding it out was a big one for him, but using illustrations is always an important strategy for readers to use!

  3. Ways to Engage a Reluctant Reader « Literacy Toolbox Says:

    […] Sneak strategy lessons into your read alouds. […]

  4. Engaging a Reluctant Reader | Big Universe Blog Says:

    […] Sneak strategy lessons into your read alouds. […]

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