This year I've become a real fan of repeating read alouds. Each week we have one extended text that we reread and explore for several days.
How do I know when when I've found a book that would make a great repeat read-aloud? Well, my crazy book-loving brain does this...
This is the inside cover of My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza. You can see that I had a brainstorm and scribbled the teaching opportunities inside the book. You'll know you've found a book worth extending across several days when there are opportunities to teach a comprehension strategy, a trait of writing and/or vocabulary. You'll know you've found a book worth reading again and again if the book provides opportunities for asking questions, making connections or considering different opinions.
Here are three reasons for repeating read-alouds. I've added the opinions of some well-known educators. That way, you don't have to just take my word for it!
When driving through a roundabout, there are several options for exiting. In the same way, repeating read-alouds gives you curriculum options. Of course the first time around, you'll just want to read the book for enjoyment. On the second reading of the book, you might choose to focus on a comprehension strategy such as visualizing. On the third day you might focus on the craft of writing. "Remember yesterday when we found words in the book that helped us visualize? Who thinks they can use words like that in their writing?" Other days might also include a focus on vocabulary or a writing prompt related to the book. In In Defense of Read-Aloud: Sustaining Best Practice, Brian Cambourne says that read-alouds are the "swiss-army knife" of instruction. Books are a compact container of handy tools. If they are all that, why would you want to use a good book only once?
Repeating read alouds adds rigor to your reading program. Can you remember a time when you were riding along a familiar road and you said, "I never noticed that before!" The second reading of a story allows children to move to higher levels of thinking. Once children are familiar with a story they can move from remembering and understanding to applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating.
Matt Glover has this to say in Engaging Young Writers.
Models of Good Writing
Repeating read alouds helps children hear the language of good writing. Here's what Lucy Calkins offers in Authors as Mentors.
If you'd like some specific ideas for extended texts, please visit my blog. Recently I've shared some ideas from my own classroom. Just click to go directly to each post.
If you enjoy repeating read-alouds or if you'd like to share another good reason to use extended texts, please leave a comment!