How to Use an Intentional, Interactive Read Aloud to Teach Many Skills With One Story
Part 5 of the Blog Series: SETTING UP FOR BACK-TO-SCHOOL SUCCESS
How in the world do you fit everything that needs to be taught in one school day? Whether you are teaching a half-day or full-day program, it is almost impossible to get it all in. One of our saving graces has been to get as many skills as possible out of one activity. One of our favorite ways to do this is through read alouds. We raise the learning potential of every read aloud by making it intentional and interactive while still keeping the pure enjoyment of listening to a great story.
Our goal with every read aloud is to FIRST build the love of reading and learning with our students while also being able to review and apply comprehension skills and strategies, to enhance language and vocabulary development, to provide opportunities and structure for collaborative conversations, to develop listening comprehension, and to build content knowledge in a highly motivating context while maximizing instructional time.
So, how do we make this magic happen? We do it with sticky notes, guiding questions, and a lesson planning template. Click HERE to download the lesson templates and sticky note templates.
We’ve been writing our vocabulary, comprehension questions, and stopping points for our read alouds on sticky notes and putting them on the actual book pages for many years. We LOVE how it makes reading a story and incorporating the lesson components more seamless and engaging. It is also great having the information right there to reference quickly. When we discovered how to print onto sticky notes, that was life changing! It saved us time because we could type the lesson on the template and then print two copies – one for our planning binder and one with sticky notes to put inside of our read aloud. The best part is that if a sticky note falls out of the book, we don’t have to rewrite it. We simply print another one!
So where do we start? We start by choosing books that are worthy of spending the time to make it an intentional interactive read aloud. Not every book is. We choose books that match our theme or have an important message that we want to teach or share. We then follow the following steps to write up our lesson plan. Once we finish the lesson plan, we print the vocabulary words and kid-friendly definitions, the comprehension questions and prompts, and our purposes for reading on sticky notes (click HERE to grab a blank lesson plan template and sticky note template).
STEP 1 – READ the book to determine the purpose and outcome.
STEP 2 – Set the purpose for reading. (What do you want your students to know and/or do at the end of the read aloud?)
STEP 3 – Determine what your students absolutely need to know for comprehension, the comprehension skill, and/or the text-dependent questions PRIOR to reading. What background knowledge needs to be activated or built?
STEP 4 – Decide stopping points, questions, and prompts to support the comprehension skill and overall comprehension of the story.
STEP 5 – Determine how the students will process and respond to questions and prompts (silently using thumb signals as a response, think-pair-share, turn & talk, quick chat, etc.)
STEP 6 – Choose during-reading vocabulary. What are some words your students may need an explanation for? Can you give a familiar synonym for the word and not stop the story? Click HERE to watch a video explaining this in more detail.
STEP 6 – Add a graphic organizer, in-depth vocabulary, and extension activities (writing, word work, etc.) if you want to go more in-depth.
STEP 7 – Complete the lesson template if you choose.
STEP 8 – Complete the sticky notes and place in the book.
All of that may seem overwhelming to some, but we promise that it is not as daunting as it seems. We also have some tips and resources to make the process much easier.
- Start with one component. Maybe choose just to set the purpose for listening or to do two stopping points in the story to have students turn and talk. Make it simple to begin with and then add components as you feel more comfortable.
- Plan for one intentional, interactive read aloud a week and build up from there.
- Watch this video that explains a little more of the process by clicking HERE.
- Click HERE (or on the image below) to grab a FREE intentional, interactive read aloud, The Recess Queen, already done for you.
- Check out our collections of intentional, interactive read aloud lessons (Back to School themed, Friendship themed, Variety themed) all ready to go by clicking on the BOTTOM PORTION of the images below. All you have to do is PRINT, STICK, and TEACH.
A couple of points to keep in mind:
•When do you use an intentional, interactive read aloud lesson or “sticky story?”
Knowing the importance and benefits of read alouds, our goal in our classroom is to read a “Sticky Story” daily. Since we live in the real world, this is not always feasible. We usually are able to read 3 or 4 Sticky Stories a week.
•What is an intentional, interactive read aloud lesson or “sticky story” NOT?
An intentional, interactive read aloud lesson is NOT a core ELA program. It is a read aloud that is engaging, builds background knowledge, develops vocabulary, reviews and applies comprehension skills and strategies, and gives students opportunities for collaborative conversations. It is not intended to be taught over several days. It’s a quick read aloud that can be done any time of the day. It’s purpose is not to teach every possible skill and strategy that you can pull out of the book. It’s meant to be quick and engaging while reviewing and emphasizing a few key skills and/or strategies.
We have enough research and teacher knowledge to know how important it is to read aloud to children. Unfortunately, with all of the content that needs to be covered and the limited amount of time we have, fun read alouds are often one of the first things to go. In fact, in some schools, many teachers have to justify doing them. One way to make every instructional minute count and to not give up the many benefits of reading to children, is to make our read alouds intentional – intentionally chosen and intentionally planned (deliberately choosing vocabulary, comprehension skills and strategies, and questions to emphasize and review).
If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below.
Click HERE to watch the video explaining Sticky Stories (intentional, interactive read aloud lesson) in more depth. Please don’t laugh too hard at how nervous we were. LOL