Reading Is Not What It Used to Be

July 15, 2018

How are Interactive Read Alouds Different?

It has been a while since I have gotten the chance to discuss interactive read alouds (IRA) on Tenspire. Certainly you can refer to the previous posts including details for developing a text set unit around an anchor text. The anchor text is a book you would use for an interactive read aloud.

I thought it would be timely to bring up some reminders and updates about best practices when considering IRAs. This is because my district is FINALLY moving towards a required reading block that makes a specific space (not just a suggested space) for IRAs in whole group literacy instruction. In fact, the entire whole group lesson in elementary grades K-5 is structured around a quality read aloud- as research and practice is mounting to show that this is an excellent way to effectively teach your students the needed methods to think deeply about texts.

What It Is NOT

Grabbing any book off the shelf
Rocking chair reading
One and done
Broken record reading
Thinking up some questions at the end


What It IS

Carefully planned, systematic text selection
Engaged, dialogic, interactive, analytical
Meaningful repeated reads
Reading for different purposes each time
Includes pre-planned aligned tasks

Overall, I would not throw the baby out with the bathwater when it comes to reading books aloud in your classroom. IRA time is dedicated to a specific text, time, and structure. There will be clear objectives you are trying to teach though reading the text you or your team selects. The practices encouraged by the IRA methodology simply seek to increase your effectiveness as an educator and amp up your teaching methods to the next level. I leave you with some further guidance for your IRA planning from the Tennessee Department of Education. Have fun!

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