The Art of the Repeated Read Aloud

Repeated Read Aloud

It is no secret that children’s literacy is important, but supporting literacy learning is tricky. Educators have numerous ways of teaching their young pupils the essentials of reading. However, it is not always easy to make those literacy lessons stick. Until third grade, children are learning to read, and after third grade, children are reading to learn. There are various tools to improve children’s literacy – a SEEDS favorite is The Repeated Read Aloud. 

The Repeated Read Aloud is a framework that introduces necessary literacy skills to children. In short, the Repeated Read Aloud is a week-long reading of the same book. Each day, the children hear the same story with a different instructional focus. To begin the week of the Repeated Read Aloud, the teacher starts by introducing the book to the children. The teacher starts with the book’s exterior – showing off the cover, the spine, and the back cover. The teacher shows the children the book with a running commentary on the essential components of a book. “This is called the cover, boys, and girls. The cover has the title of the book. The title of this book is “I Am Enough.”

The SEEDS Repeated Read Aloud helps children understand every aspect of the book. “What does the author do?” the teacher will ask. At first, the children may not know, but by the end of the week, the whole class will shout back, “write the book.” A fun way to help kids remember the illustrator and author’s job is to sing a song. In the tune of the farmer and the dell, the teacher can sing, “the author writes the words, the author writes the words hi-ho the derry-o the author writes the words.” Then repeat with “the illustrator draws the pictures.” By the end of the week, the children will be able to sing with you! Initial questions about the physical book introduce background knowledge on the components required to make a book. 

Later in the week, the teacher will ask more in-depth questions about the contents of the story. “How do you think this character is feeling? What do you think will happen next?” Questions like these can help build the students’ sequential thought process and social-emotional skills. 

Each day at reading time, the teacher highlights vocabulary words for the children using vocabulary cards before and after reading the book. For example, in the children’s book I Am Enough by Grace Byers, the teacher may use vocabulary cards for the words enough, shine, and soar. These words may not be in the children’s vocabulary yet but are included in the book. By introducing the words to the children through vocabulary cards and then using them again in the book, they are much more likely to understand the new terms’ meaning. In the Reading Research Quarterly, V40, #4, literacy researcher Molly Collins suggests “multiple readings of the same book using rich explanations of vocabulary words, effects significant gains in preschoolers’ vocabulary.” Children are more likely to use a new word if they have heard the term 3-5 times.

Virtual Training and the Repeated Read Aloud

During October, the FluentSeeds team trained 355 educators in the art of the Repeated Read Aloud. During multiple virtual sessions, our FluentSeeds team modeled the Repeated Read Aloud using Grace Byers book I am Enough. Our team trained educators in both English and Spanish in mastering the Repeated read Aloud. “You just made my lesson plan so easy,” one educator said at the end of a training session. Because literacy is imperative to a child’s future, it’s essential to share successfully proven literacy learning methods with educators to provide children with lifelong literacy skills. 

The Repeated Read Aloud is just one tool FluentSeeds offers to ensure all children are proficient readers by third grade. Check out our online store for books and vocabulary cards to assist your own child’s literacy. See our training calendar for more ways to learn about FluentSeeds literacy tools. I Am Enough by Grace Byers and related vocabulary cards are also available to purchase. Email carlah@fluentseeds.org for more information. 

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