It is common for elementary school teachers to read books to their classes. They read textbooks aloud and will often have a time set aside each day to read a non-curriculum book to the class as well. Students love this and it teaches them a variety of skills including the proper way to read, how to pronounce new words, and how inflection should be used. Once students enter junior high, reading aloud often becomes nothing but a distant memory.
This is truly unfortunate, because the techniques that are being taught in elementary school through reading aloud to the students still need to be reinforced in later grades. This is especially true for ESE and ESOL students. Most of these students are not able to read at grade level independently. By taking the time to read passages aloud to them, the teacher is able to reinforce skills. Sometimes students think they don’t enjoy reading simply because of how difficult it is for them. When a teacher reads a story aloud to them, they are able to become immersed in the plot, characters. and entire story experience. Once they realize how easy it can be to escape into a story, many students will become more interested in their own reading. Choose these books based on student interests to really hook them.
Equally important is letting the students take turns reading aloud in class. This is great for general education and special education students. When you allow students to read their textbook aloud during class, it is easier to get an idea of how much of the information they truly comprehend. When they read silently, they will often skim over the words or read them so mechanically that at the end of the section they have no idea what they just read. When they read aloud, they have to slow down; the teacher has the opportunity to correct and explain the meaning of unfamiliar words, and students can ask any questions they may have as they read. The process will also increase fluency and accuracy.
When having students read aloud, there are several tricks that should be implemented to get a true representation of their abilities. First, tell them ahead of time that you will be calling on them randomly. Then have students stop in unpredictable places and call on the next student. This will ensure students are paying attention and that they are not counting ahead to “their” paragraph to practice the words before it is their turn. Some students who have anxiety issues when it comes to school performance may feel uncomfortable in this exercise. If you are aware of their anxiety issues, speak to them before class and let them know you will be calling on them.
Do you read to students who are in junior high or high school? Do you have them read aloud to you? Why or why not?