After last week’s Never Too Old For Read-Alouds post, we wanted to offer a few ideas to feed the read-aloud fire.
- Host an all night read aloud like St. Ann’s School in Brooklyn, NY. Students and their families gather for a sleepover each Spring, beginning Friday afternoon and continuing to midday on Saturday. Participants listen to classics read in their entirety. Sleep breaks are taken and literary food is served.
- Read the first book in a series or the first few chapters of recommended books to grab student’s attention and fuel their independent reading.
- Incorporate read-alouds into seasonal celebrations. For example, read Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Tell-Tale Heart” near Halloween. Dim the lights and incorporate scary props.
- Celebrate birthday parties for authors or celebrate the anniversary of a book’s publication. Read excerpts throughout the day or sponsor an afterschool party for longer readings.
- Teacher-librarian Sara Lissa Paulson holds a “Reading in the Streets” day each year. Members of the school community read aloud in the hallways as students move from class to class. One year the principal read from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—dressed as Alice! A security guard read from Moby-Dick. In the few minutes of transitional time, students listen to snippets of stories, absorb rich language, and make new connections to staff members.
- Teachers can head to Skype in the Classroom to pair up with other classrooms reading the same books, and even arrange visits with well-known authors.
- When I taught 12th grade British Literature the anthology was intimidating. I wanted to read so much more than we had time for, and in truth, I knew all my students weren’t keeping up with assigned reading at home. So, I found scripted versions of some of the hefty classic novels, like A Tale of Two Cities, and we did dramatic readings in class. I knew that if they fell in love with the story they would be much more likely to read the book eventually.
St. Ann’s School
The Iliad by Homer
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Moby Dick by Herman Melville and beef stroganoff for
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The New York Times
Click here for their read-aloud list (way too long to copy). Titles span genres and content areas.
C.J. Westerberg The Book Riff
The 13 Clocks by James Thurber
The English Reader: What Every Literate Person Needs to Know by Michael Ravitch & Diane Ravitch.
The American Reader by Michael Ravitch & Diane Ravitch
A Really Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson’s (a kids’ version of his bestseller, A Short History of Nearly Everything)
Paris: The Novel, by Edward Rutherfurd
Bank Street College of Education
Access their list of Books To Read Aloud With Children Twelve and Older
The Great Santini by Pat Conroy
The Lords of Discipline by Pat Conroy
Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
Bucking the Sarge by Christopher Paul Curtis
The Color of Water by James McBride
The Education of Robert Nifkin by Daniel Pinkwater
Thirsty by M.T. Anderson
Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper (book 1 of a trilogy)
The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green