What is a read-aloud?

A read-aloud is when someone reads a book or text out loud to an audience. This can be done in a classroom setting, at a library, or in a family setting.


Read-alouds can improve reading skills, build vocabulary, and promote a love of reading. They can also be used as a tool for teaching literature, language arts, and other subjects.

Why are read-alouds beneficial?

Reading aloud is a powerful tool that can greatly benefit students of all ages. Here are a few reasons why read-alouds are so beneficial:

  • Improved literacy skills: Hearing a text read aloud can help students improve their own reading skills. They can listen to the rhythm and intonation of the words and learn how to read with expression. Additionally, read-alouds can expose students to a wide range of vocabulary, helping them to expand their vocabulary.

  • Increased comprehension: When students listen to a text being read aloud, they can focus on understanding the story or the information being presented. This can help them to comprehend the material better and retain it for longer periods of time. The teacher or parent can also ask comprehension questions that promote critical thinking and invoke curiosity.

  • Exposure to a wide range of literature: Read-alouds can expose students to a wide range of literature they might not otherwise have the opportunity to read. This can help them to develop an appreciation for different genres and styles of writing.

  • Improved listening skills: Read-alouds can help students improve their listening skills, which are important for success in school and life.

  • Enhancing creativity and imagination: Hearing stories read aloud can help to spark the imagination and creativity of students. Listening to different stories, characters, and settings can open up new possibilities in their minds and inspire them to think more creatively.

  • Builds a sense of community: Read-alouds can also help to build a sense of community in the classroom. When students listen to a text together, they can discuss and share their thoughts and ideas, which can foster a sense of camaraderie and belonging. Students can also be exposed to other cultures and backgrounds, which promotes empathy and inclusion.


Tips for Reading Aloud to Students

Reading aloud to students is something that anyone can do! It just takes some confidence and practice. Check out our tips for maximizing read-aloud time:

  • Speak clearly and at a moderate pace so all students can understand you.

  • Use expression and intonation to bring the text to life and make it more engaging for students. We highly recommend using Novel Effect to enhance read-alouds, with interactive music and sound effects that are voice-activated!

  • Encourage students to follow along with the text as you read, and to ask questions if they don't understand something.

  • Take breaks as needed, and provide opportunities for students to restate what they've heard in their own words and to discuss the story with each other.

  • Make sure that the material is appropriate for students' maturity and developmental levels.

  • Choose a variety of books that represent a range of diverse characters. Students love seeing characters that look like them or have similarities to them, but it is also powerful to see characters that are different than them.

  • Make sure to have good eye contact with the students so that they can follow you and the text.

  • Make sure that the students can see the pictures as you read! You can accomplish this by holding the book towards the students as you read, or reading the text on each page and then holding the book up so that all students can see the pictures.

  • It can be helpful to pause and summarize key points, or to ask open-ended questions to stimulate discussion and critical thinking.


What are some great read-aloud books to try?

Choosing the right books is crucial to maximizing read-aloud time! As mentioned above, a diverse range of books and characters are important. It is also helpful to go with tried and true books based on recommendations from others. Check out some of our favorites:

15 Fun Winter Read-Alouds for Elementary Students

Top 30 Christmas Read-Alouds for the Elementary Classroom

10 Halloween Read-Alouds That Will Delight (And Teach) Your Students

10 Social-Emotional Learning Books for Children

5 Classroom Community Books to Help Create a Supportive Environment for Your Students

5 Great Read-Alouds for St. Patrick’s Day that will help Build Classroom Community

We also highly recommend our read-aloud books from TeacherGoals Publishing!


Experience the power of read-alouds at World Read Aloud Day!

World Read Aloud Day is an annual event that takes place on the first Wednesday of February. The day is dedicated to promoting literacy and the love of reading. The goal is to encourage people of all ages to pick up a book and read it aloud to someone else, whether it's to a child, a friend, or a group of people.

World Read Aloud Day 2023 was an absolute blast, and we had readers from near & far participating. 

We even saw thousands of folks joining in from each of the 50 states and countries like Italy, Romania, Georgia, Colombia, Canada, Argentina, and many more - how cool is that?

And if you missed our live event, don't worry; there's a replay on our YouTube channel (go subscribe), plus grab your copy of the activity book while it's still available. It’s time to dive into some great reads!

TeacherGoals World Read Aloud Day

Overall, read-alouds are an essential tool for promoting literacy and a love of literature in students. They can help to improve reading, listening, and comprehension skills, expose students to a wide range of literature and foster a sense of community in the classroom. 

  • Please recommend read-alouds for middle and high school students.

  • I really liked all of the ideas and tips in the article! I can’t wait to use more read alouds next school year!

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    The Power of Read-Alouds was authored by:
    Brad Weinstein

    Brad Weinstein is the primary content creator for TeacherGoals and oversees the organization's strategic vision. Brad is passionate about fostering equitable teaching and learning practices that help all students succeed.

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