Getting to know read-alouds

Teacher reading aloud to his class.

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Reading aloud to children and teenagers stimulates interest, imagination and language, and exposes them to the joys of reading. Finding and choosing a 'read-aloud' that you and your students will enjoy is crucial, so here are a few tips and resources.

Increase your knowledge of read-alouds

The most valuable tool for selecting read-alouds is to increase your knowledge of children's and youth literature. Read, read, read! This makes choosing a story you and your students will enjoy much easier and increases your confidence as a reading role model.

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.
— Linda Hoyt, author of the 'Interactive Read-Alouds: Linking Standards, Fluency, and Comprehension' series (Heinemann)

Mem Fox has 3 read alouds each week. She has written about this in a 'Read-aloud lesson' and has developed 'Ten read-aloud commandments'.

Read-aloud lesson

Ten read-aloud commandments

Reading aloud has tips and strategies on reading aloud along with information on choosing appropriate material.

What makes a good read-aloud

Select stories with:

  • an interesting plot
  • dialogue
  • some suspense or adventure
  • suitable emotional content for the age and background of the students.

Picture books and fiction are popular read-alouds. But also include in your selection material such as:

  • biographies or autobiographies
  • non-fiction
  • poetry
  • newspaper and magazine articles.

Many public libraries will have read-aloud booklists, while journals of children's books will indicate recommended read-alouds in their reviews.

Share recommendations for great read-alouds with your library and teaching colleagues, either via listservs, or at network meetings. Set up regular staff sharing sessions.

School staff as readers

Classroom strategies teachers use to create readers

Read-aloud recommendations and booklists

Use our Books and Reads tool to explore, find, and share children’s and young adult (YA) books and reviews.

Best read-aloud chapter books — from Goodreads.

Create Readers blog (read-aloud books category) — reviews of recent titles recommended as read-alouds.

Nancy Keane read-alouds — a list of read-alouds organised by theme and age groups.

Read-Aloud America — offers resources and up-to-date booklists for toddlers to adults.

Teachers working together — books to read aloud (pdf, 320KB)

Top read-alouds — the Christchurch Children’s Library Team has created great lists of the top 5 read-alouds for every decade the library has been open.

Treasury of read-alouds — Jim Trelease.

100 best read-aloud books — Scholastic.

Reader's theater: Giving students a reason to read aloud

Read-aloud bookmarks

Download the following bookmarks, which list picture book and intermediate, age-appropriate read-aloud suggestions:

Picture book read-alouds (pdf, 157KB)

Intermediate read-alouds (pdf, 400KB)