The Magical Power of the Read Aloud
Meet the Maker
Linda Krystek, Director of Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment
What is something interesting we would not know about you just by looking?
I gave birth to my four children at home with the assistance of a midwife. I found it to be such an empowering and joyful experience that I became a childbirth educator to assist other expectant parents in the process of creating individualized birth plans. This was whether they planned to give birth at home or in the hospital. I also served as a doula for many of my students and attended about 60 births. Each one a magical experience.
Who was your most unique pet?
I have had several unique class pets over the course of my tenure as an elementary teacher. This includes hamsters named Chip and Dale, Scotty Scorpion (found in the boys’ bathroom upstairs), Speedy the turtle, Blueberry (a blue belly lizard missing his tail that one of my learners rescued), an anole, a pair of walking sticks, a Jerusalem beetle we found during lunch outside, and the overall favorite, Honey Bunny.
Linda Hoyt, author of the Interactive Read-Alouds: Linking Standards, Fluency, and Comprehension Series, writes, “I believe that read-alouds reach their highest level of potency when they are based on a careful balance between fiction and nonfiction — exposing learners to the language forms and structures of the many different text types they need to control as a reader. The language of a set of directions, an informational poem, a Seymour Simon description, and a newspaper all differ dramatically from the language of a novel or picture book. If we are to empower students as readers of all the texts in their world, we must ensure they have ample opportunity to listen to and reflect upon the broadest possible range of text types. Read-aloud weaves a rich tapestry of wonder and thoughtful reflection that gains strength and momentum when built upon a wide range of subjects and differing text structures.”
This Week’s Focus
How can we use the power of reading aloud to cultivate a love of reading that advances their literacy skills and lifelong learning?
At what grade should educators stop reading aloud to their learners? I am a staunch believer that reading aloud can and should be a daily occurrence, not only in primary and elementary grades, but in middle and high school as well. Read-alouds aren’t just passive listening activities for our youngest learners, but a tool for building listening and comprehension skills, vocabulary acquisition, developing empathy and building connections to content for learners of all ages; elementary, middle and high school.
Reading aloud is a teacher’s secret weapon to inspire their students to read on their own, model good reading, promote critical thinking and discourse and is a proven way to build community in the classroom.