In this video segment from Between the Lions, Lionel the Lion models reading aloud as he reads the story of The Three Little Pigs to Leona. Elements of an effective read-aloud featured in this segment include: introducing a story, a repeated reading, highlighting words as they are read, and other concepts of print.
Reading aloud is the single most important thing parents and caregivers can do to prepare children for success in school. From birth to age six, the brain is in a critical period of language development. Hearing language as a story is read aloud helps the brain organize itself to learn language, strengthening the language connections in the brain and making it more receptive to oral and book learning. Research shows that the amount of time children spend being read to in the preschool years strongly predicts their readiness for kindergarten and even their performance at the end of the sixth grade.
An effective read-aloud begins before a word is read. For example, before Lionel reads The Three Little Pigs, he wears three pig noses. Introducing the story sets the purpose for reading, which creates a sense of excitement and expectation. When children have a sense of what they will find in the book and why it was selected, their brains are primed for learning and more ready to comprehend the story.
Lionel also reminds Leona that The Three Little Pigs is one of her favorite books. When children have a favorite book, repeated readings can play a critical role in language development and learning. A favorite book provides text that is predictable; each time you open the book, the same text is there. And because books can introduce children to new vocabulary and syntax, repeated readings help growing minds lock in new word meanings and sentence structures. Repeated readings also encourage children to chime in with the phrases they hear, as though they are actually reading. This kind of pretend reading is an important step in the process of learning to read—it gives children a sense of achievement that motivates them to want to read.
An effective read-aloud also includes opportunities to point out various concepts of print: that the book has a front and back cover, that we read from front to back, top to bottom, and left to right on each page, and that words are made of letters that stand for language sounds. Pointing to each word or phrase as it is being read helps children begin to recognize the letters and words that represent language. While concepts of print seem obvious, children who enter school without some understanding of them are often lost in a book encounter, not knowing where to begin or how to follow along. Children who have been well read to at home often enter school with some understanding of print concepts, and are ready to learn more about reading from their teacher.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.