Response to Chapt. 7 of Gunning’s, Assessing and Correcting Reading and Writing Difficulties

There are many benefits to reading aloud. Reading aloud is essential for lower-achieving readers because it builds vocabulary, syntax, and comprehension. Reading aloud also helps students make sense of the story. If the student is able to hear the story read fluently, then they will better understand the message and content of the story. Also use of a read aloud can enrich student’s language not only when reading, but when discussing the stories. Students pick up the language you use and the language they hear so if they are immersed in rich language, then they will notice it and start developing their own language. Stories are not only a great way to develop language, but to advance vocabulary. You can advance their vocabulary by using words from the text that may be difficult for the students.
When reading aloud to students it is important to pick stories that you and the students like. If the students do not like the story you selected, then they will not listen to the story. If you do not like the story chosen, you will not be conveying enthusiasm as you read and the story will suffer. It is also smart to include some informational type stories do that students can build a background in this area. Another important factor when picking stories is comprehension. Do not pick a book that the students cannot understand. It is important to push the students to learn more, but if the students do not understand the majority of the story then comprehension can be thrown out the window. If students can understand the text and can answer most of your questions about the text, then they are probably at the right level. Another aspect in picking a story is length. Do not pick a book that is too long because students may get bored and let their minds wonder and miss part of the book.
It is also important to introduce the book. Students benefit from this because they are on the same page as you are now. Also, try to read through the story with little interruptions. Interruptions break up the story and can cause some confusion. At the end of the story it should be discussed between you and your students. This allows them to ask questions and allows you to shape the discussion to benefit everybody. When discussing have them talk about or analyze characters, settings, plot, etc. Help them draw conclusions and make connections to the real world. At the end of the day a read aloud can be immensely beneficial to developing all students.

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