By Teachers, For Teachers
As a teacher or a parent, you might be wondering about creative and approachable teaching strategies to connect with your children and learn something useful along the way. If you remember your own school days, you might remember reading passages or short stories aloud during your classes. You must have been so confused by it then, but now you see all the benefits it brought to you. So what are some of the most useful read-aloud teaching strategies that we can apply for children in and above 4th grade?
Whether you’re the teacher or the parent (or both), it’s important to set some base expectations with your children. More often than not, they will agree with whatever it is you assign them as read-aloud material, but you can give them a sense of choice by choosing two or three texts and letting them pick which one to read. Another idea might be to have a little game where you decide what you will study next together.
Making the young ones do things they don’t want to do is possible, but it’s not productive in the long run and it makes them become fearful of authority. It’s up to you to talk to them on the same level and show them that you care about what they think. That way, when the read-aloud exercise starts, you will see that your friendly strategy works and that the children agree with and respect your authority as their teacher.
While read-aloud lessons are interactive by themselves, you can always go a step further than that. Try to involve all the children in the group to participate. You can do this by letting everyone have a turn at reading and then letting everyone say how they feel about what they just read.
By making the lesson interactive, you will make the kids aware of their friends and the text that’s being read, even if it might be boring to them personally. Interactive lessons are far better for making a positive and lasting impact on the young ones. The more involved and meaningful their actions are the more attention they will pay towards learning and participating.
Kids like nothing more than to stand apart from everyone else. Many of them won’t admit it, but receiving a chocolate bar from the teacher or a clap from their friends for a job well done is beyond memorable. Try to establish a relationship that will make the children compete and be as successful as they can. When reading aloud, they will strive to do the best they can, and it’s up to you to treat everyone fairly.
Not everyone will be especially good at a particular lesson, and that’s totally fine. Make sure that you reward everyone in the end and establish a sense of friendly competition, not your own little “Hunger Games.” If the children feel like they will be rewarded and learn something useful in the process, making them do read-aloud lessons will be easier than ever before.
Reading the classics is all well and good, but you may notice a lack of interest in grades 4 and up (albeit not universal) where children want to experience something more exciting. By establishing that your texts will vary and that you might even let them decide on what to read on a semiregular basis, you will draw their attention to anything you do in class. There are literary pieces that every young person should read through, but as long as they are fair toward the lessons you put on them, there is no reason not to meet them halfway. Checking out a professional paper site such as Lord of Papers might give you an idea about which direction you should go with these. There’s no rule that says you can’t put “The Hobbit” or the above-mentioned “Hunger Games” in your schedule as long as it doesn’t interfere with your planned lessons and serves to teach the kids something useful. Keep your texts and read-aloud assignments varied and different enough so that today’s modern kids don’t lose interest halfway through.
Children in the 4th grade might not be accustomed to taking regular notes just yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t encourage it. Taking notes can be anything from writing key words to doodling and drawing what they imagined while reading aloud in class.
By doing so, you can have an interactive segment at the end of each lesson where kids compare notes and draw interesting conclusions. This is not only a good way to boost their creativity and attention, but also get to know them a bit better on a more personal level. The best part about it is that everyone in the group gets to actively participate in reading the text aloud, making sure that everyone cares about the lesson.
If the text you are working on is filled with dialogue, you can assign your students into different roles. Turning the classroom into an improvised theater will not only help the shy children open up more, but it will connect everyone and make the lesson that much easier to complete.
Some kids might enjoy role-playing a bit more than others, but it’s important to explain to them that this kind of read-aloud lesson is good for them. It helps them let go of their anxiety and fear of what others may think by acting out a simple role for a couple of minutes.
By reading through the same text later with the same group of students, you will see their progress more clearly. It can be difficult to read something perfectly well on the first try, so repeating a text or two a couple of weeks later is a great way to illustrate that progress is happening. This is good for the children because they don’t see the benefit of reading aloud most of the time and find it tedious, embarrassing, or boring. Seeing their development firsthand might just be what changes their opinion.
There are a lot of read-aloud teaching strategies that you can implement in your daily teaching, but it’s important to note that not all of them will work. Children are fickle and indecisive creatures, and it’s up to you as their parent or teacher to notice these subtle messages and interpret them. There’s no denying that read-aloud lessons are useful and beneficial for both you and the child, but make sure that you deliver them in the correct way.