In 2nd grade, we have a special time built into our day that is used strategically to facilitate a love of reading, while also building on other vital early reading skills. Before we dive into labs, we do a close read of a story, also referred to as a Repetitive Interactive Read Along or RIRA. Why add even MORE read alouds to our day? Studies show that having a teacher read aloud to students helps to increase their reading level because it models fluent reading. By following along and seeing how the teacher emphasizes different words, pauses at commas and periods, and pronounces difficult words, students can increase their own reading fluency. When students are exposed to complex texts that spark their interest, it inspires them to reach for more! Teachers are able to scaffold students’ understanding of a text because it is dissected over multiple days. Throughout the week, students are introduced to context specific vocabulary, new and interesting concepts, and are given the opportunity to make connections and inferences with the text.
The most effective read alongs happen when students are in the driver’s seat- making predictions, sharing inferences, answering text specific ‘why’ questions, and grappling with new vocabulary. By giving them a guide, such as a graphic organizer, students are able to organize story elements into a chart, and then discuss connections. While reading, I make sure to ‘think-aloud’ frequently, to model reading strategies for decoding as well as comprehension. While students could potentially find a central message or theme in just any book, it is highly beneficial to expose them to pre researched books rich in vocabulary, of high interest, just above their reading level, and with a variety of text features. The benefits of repeated exposure to stories in a RIRA structure show not only their reading development, but also in their confidence as a reader. As teachers, parents, and school leaders, we can ALL facilitate a love of reading by picking up more books kids love, and just reading to them.
To read more about the benefits of read alouds, check out http://www.readingrockets.org/article/repeated-interactive-read-alouds-preschool-and-kindergarten