Listening to an adult or peer read aloud can benefit students at any age. Most states compile a reading list of books that have been nominated for a state reading award annually. For Arkansas, there are three divisions: Arkansas Diamond Children’s Book Award (K-3), Charlie May Simon Children’s Book Award (4-6), and Arkansas Teen Book Award (7-12). With this list comes the right and responsibility of reading the books in order to vote. Many teacher-librarians choose to read the primary books aloud. Since they are picture books, they lend themselves well to instructional lessons.
Not only do my students listen to me read the books, but we also ask friends and community members to read aloud to us. I record these read alouds and include them in a Google Slide presentation. Providing recorded read alouds allows students to view the books at any time. The read aloud videos are also posted to my YouTube Channel.
This year, not only did I ask community members and adults to record the read alouds, but I also turned to students to help. After asking Tutors, Inc. in my library to record, I also asked the students who present the morning announcements. Once word spread that these students had gotten to record a read aloud, many students began to request recording a read aloud.
Using my document camera, students record directly into the camera as if they were reading to a class. Another method is that students can choose to record just their voice while the camera focuses on the book. Prior to recording, students are asked to pre-read the book many times. Pre-reading helps student readers become familiar with difficult words and ways to increase inflection and fluency. After students finish recording we discuss the editing process, previewing the video, making corrections, and publishing. As a music and performing arts magnet school, this provides our students extra practice with theatrical reading and stage prep.
Our superintendent and curriculum director are scheduled to record a read aloud! Not only does this promote student voice, but it also provides our students with an avenue to connect with school administration and community members. What are other ways in which we can encourage our students to use their voice and share a love of reading?