Thursday, September 1, 2016

Why Repeated Read Alouds Support Children

Repeated, interactive read alouds are a technique developed based on research to support
the comprehension and vocabulary development of young children. This technique has
been shown...

"to be effective in increasing children's engagement, understanding, and appreciation of literature in kindergarten settings"  - Lea McGee and Judith Schickedanz

We have been using this technique for a few years, but sometimes forget how
valuable it is and need to remind ourselves that even though we may not want to hear
the same story again, the children are often engaged and gain new insight with each
repeated read.

Some of our reflections from the past year:

Carefully and intentionally selecting the story that we chose to read aloud (not just 
"picking" a book quickly or because we "like it")

Whole Group, Small Group? We thought a lot about the structure in terms of
grouping this past year, we experimented by doing read alouds both as a whole and
small group and found benefits to both structures.

Be Intentional and Prepared: record your questions or vocabulary that you plan to
discuss on a sticky note on the back of the book or nearby. 

Do NOT stop during the first reading: stopping often to ask questions or take
questions will impact the flow and comprehension (especially during first reading), as
much as possible we tried to read through the whole book on the first day
without interrupting. 

Redirect: Although there are times when we will follow the children's interests or
lead, there are also teachable moments where we have to redirect back to the
question or focus of the story.

What does a Repeated Read Aloud look like?
There is no right or wrong way, you may read the same story 2, 3, or 5 times!
Below is a structure that we follow and find that it supports both vocabulary and 
comprehension development in our classroom.

Some stories will lead to extensions during Learning Centres, some won't! It is
important to note that not all books will be repeated read alouds either. Sometimes we
just read for the pleasure of reading with children too.

Day 1: Activating Prior Knowledge, Building Knowledge (zone in on making
connections, oral language)
Just Read – No Stopping!

Day 2: Five Finger Retell
(re-read, then ask…)


Day 3: Re-Read and Vocabulary
•Stop and focus in on vocabulary (discuss, brainstorm examples, use in sentence etc)
•Select words that you will discuss in advance

Day 4: Higher Order Questioning
•Asking, discussing, reflecting on high order questioning 
•“between the lines” questions

•Does the text support any extensions for learning centres?
•How can students engage with the text further after reading? (e.g., in book nook, 
listening centre)


Sample Repeated Read Aloud Plans:
This summer we had a workshop on Early Literacy. Educators created plans for Repeated 
Read Alouds and we thought we would share some of them below. These are simply suggestions and ideas, as always think about what makes sense for your children and community. Our goal is to continue to add to this list throughout the year with books that we use and find interesting!

Red: A Crayon's Story - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

The Invisible Boy - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

The Day the Crayons Came Home - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

Tops and Bottoms - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

I Am Yoga - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

Puff the Magic Dragon - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

Paper Bag Princess - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

Malaika's Costume - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

Ask Me - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

The Curious Garden - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

Ellie - Repeated Read Aloud Plan

The Cloud - Repeated Read Aloud

Our goal is always to share as many practical ideas as possible to go along with our reflections! If you have a repeated read aloud that you would like us to add, please do share!


  1. Thank you for sharing...great tips and love seeing your plans.

  2. This are wonderful!

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  4. I love this blog.
    I'm a new teacher and a new teacher to Kindergarten. I feel like I'm drowning, ha ha.
    However, I have gleaned so many things from your's been fabulous!
    Do you start repeated read alouds in September? I find my students are still so wiggly and are not developmentally ready to sit for much longer than 5-7 minutes tops. We have a few that can't sit for longer than 3 (we've made a plan to let them leave early from the carpet).

    Also, you answered my questions about Large Group (Foused Learning), I have really been struggling as to what to do with that short time.

    Thank you!
    You're new friend..learning how to grow and meet the needs of our learners