March 2024 Newsletter – Best Practices When Reading with Children: What are Interactive Read-Alouds?

What are Interactive Read-Alouds?

Reading aloud to children is a common occurrence in schools. An effective and productive way to maximize the benefits of reading to kids is to conduct interactive read-alouds.

Interactive read-alouds offer planned opportunities for the students to interact with the text. During interactive read-alouds, teachers read carefully selected books and stories to the students. Throughout the reading, teachers stop to ask thought-provoking discussion questions, encouraging students to actively engage with the story that is being read. The interactions can include:

  • Asking prediction questions.
  • Asking about characters’ emotions or actions.
  • Talking to a partner about what was just read.
  • Giving a gesture of approval or disapproval of something that is occurring in the story.
  • Acting out what the character in the story may be doing or feeling.

These are just a few ways to encourage the children to actively participate throughout the read-aloud process.

There are numerous benefits to interactive read-alouds. In addition to building literacy foundations, they promote a sense of classroom community. In a community,  teachers and students connect through conversation and sharing.

This reading time allows teachers to expose students to age-appropriate, complex, and engaging stories that they may not be able to read on their own. Reading these books will help develop and build vocabulary and knowledge to prepare them for later reading.

Interactive read-alouds allow educators to model reading fluency, effective comprehension, and vocabulary which students need to develop to become strong readers. Read-alouds also help children strengthen their listening skills and increase their interest in reading.

Effective interactive read-alouds do not just happen on their own. This takes strategic preparation from the teacher. To plan an interactive read-aloud, choose the book or story you want to read with intentionality. Preview the book and think about the reading skills that you want the children to learn. Consider the other learning opportunities that exist based on the topic of the book and be sure to capitalize on those learning experiences as well.

Plan the skills you want to teach and how you will do so. Choose and mark where you will stop reading and note what you will ask the students to do at those points. Rereading the story multiple times in multiple lessons is of great benefit to the children, teaching different standards and skills each time, so plan on doing so.

There are many resources on how to plan an effective interactive read-aloud, and many suggestions on great books to use. Gather those books, make your plan, and set children on their journey to literacy.


For the main article Best Practices When Reading with Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Tips and Strategies to Use When Reading With Children, CLICK HERE

For the article Developmentally Appropriate Literacy Learning in Early Childhood, CLICK HERE

For the article What Can Families do to Support Literacy Development at Home?, CLICK HERE