Hi everyone! I'm Mary Beth from Brain Waves Instruction and I'm so happy to be sharing ideas with you all today. Rachel, thanks for letting me stop by!
Like most teachers, I'm constantly on the hunt for engaging ways to help students become more confident, effective, and critical readers. Sometimes, I even go "old-school" and have my students read passages out loud in class...but reading out loud isn't always motivating for students.
There are lots of benefits to reading aloud like improving fluency, facilitating cooperative learning, increasing attention spans, promoting deep discussions, building community and closely reading texts. However, many times when I ask students to read out loud in class or small groups, I'm met with grumbles OR enthusiastic participation from the same three students. This reaction to reading aloud got me thinking that there must be a better way to engage students in reading aloud. Over the years, I've found that these ideas do just that...
1. Fun Chair
All you need for this read aloud activity is a circle of chairs and one really fun chair. In my classroom, the fun chair can be the famous "orange chair" that doubles as my favorite homework motivator, my comfy teacher chair, an Adirondack chair, or any other unusual chair I can find. Of course, all the students want to sit in the fun chair...and they can...when they read aloud.
We start this activity once all the kids are sitting in a circle. One lucky student sits in the fun chair and starts reading aloud, first. Then, when he or she is finished all the kids move over one seat and the next fun-chair-reader begins. It's an easy reading activity and students love getting up and moving, too!
2. Silly Reading Tasks
My kids go nuts over the basket of silly reading tasks. It's filled with funny ways to read out loud. Everything from "read really slowly" to "read like you're underwater." I typically bring out the silly reading tasks when students are already familiar with a passage or I want to do a bit of a reread before moving on. It's also super fun to do with small groups, or as a choral reading activity.
FYI: I've prepared a free resource of these tasks and others that you can find HERE if you'd like to try them in your classroom.
3. Spontaneous Reading
Oh, this is one of my students' favorite ways to read out loud in class. The first step is to have all students sit on top of their desks with the reading passage in their hands. Then, simply explain that you will no longer be directing, selecting, or monitoring the read aloud of the text. That's right, the kids are in complete control.
Explain that once you say "start" someone, anyone can start reading. Then, when the next person wants to read he or she should just pipe in. If two or more students start reading at once, they'll just need to work it out (without any words). Typically, one person continues on and then the next student starts up a bit later. It's a pretty magical way to read. I'm always surprised by who reads (usually everyone), how much they read, and how often. It's spontaneous and so fun!
4. Mystery Word
On the days when I can't get more than a handful of students to volunteer to read in class, I bring out my mystery word envelope. In the envelope I stick a piece of paper with a word written on it that the students will encounter during the class's reading for the day. Then, I explain that the student who happens to read the mystery word will receive a homework pass (or other prize). All they have to do is read. Then, while students are reading I pay special attention to the student that actually reads the mystery word. Finally, at the end of the passage, I reveal the mystery word from the envelope and reward the reading winner. It amps up the number of student volunteers every time!
(Resources for this strategy can be found HERE.)
5. Reading Dice
Reading dice are a super fun to bring out when students are reading with a partner or in small groups. I have several versions of the dice to use with different types of passages. Students love rolling their reading fate and I love how engaged they are in reading!
Each of these ideas have been successful additions to the reading instruction in my classroom. I hope you'll find that your students become more confident, engaged, and effective readers in your classroom, too.
If you're interested in printables of the ideas above, you can find them for free HERE. Or, you might like these Reading Comprehension Units (that my kids love) or my newest Close Reading Unit.
Mary Beth, from Brain Waves Instruction, is a teacher-author with years of experience in the middle school classroom. When she's not creating student-centered, teacher-approved curriculum she's busy laughing with her silly sons, finding sweet deals at estate sales, dreaming of warmer days (when will this winter end?), and hanging out with her favorite people. You can find us at our TpT Store, Blog, Facebook and Pinterest!