SOL16, Day 26: Great Read Aloud Need Great Reads

I remember sitting on the plane coming home from my first Teachers College Summer Reading Institute.  I spent the flight pouring over Lester Laminack’s book on Read Aloud. Marking pages. Trying to understand how to do this thing called Read Aloud.

Ten years later, I’m still working on it.

Read Aloud is probably the most important (and misunderstood) tool of a reading teacher.

How to read and love a book is a precious gift reading teachers share when they read aloud. It can provide the opportunity to

  • build community
  • access the possibilities of reading
  • wonder, theorize, think deeply
  • study text on a macro or a micro level
  • understand why reading matters
  • find joy in reading


Read aloud is the heart and soul of my reading classroom.

Read aloud provides the why we must be readers.

But, read aloud can’t happen without books that allow for meaningful and varied work with students.

To do this challenging and I believe sacred work, I’ve bought a lot of books. Some are necessary at certain times, or for certain students. Finding “just right” read aloud books is a journey.  On my journey for great books, I have found excellent books and great colleagues who share this passion.

One such find is the Good to Great Voxer group. This group, of dedicated teacher readers led by Mary Howard and Amy Brennan, share passionate best practice beliefs about teaching children to read. Funny thing is strong views and collaboration can make amazing things happen.

One of those things was a “what if” challenge posed by Jan Burkins. It went something like this, “What if we created a collection of picture books that can foster student thinking.”

And the work began.

Jan culled recommendations from the group and the results, a collection of 31 short texts that can spark deep reading discussions, can be found here.

Children need access and the opportunity to engage and be engaged in books. Books that offer opportunities for students to experience reading joy while studying the craft of reading as a community.  Read aloud with great books can do this.

Today, I celebrate Jan Burkins and the Good to Great Voxer group who share a passion for reading and cultivating readers.

celebrate link up

Thank you, Ruth Ayers, for your link up to Celebrate every week.


And thank you to Two Writing Teachers Blog for the March Slice of Life Challenge. Much love to all who slice and comment every day! Happy Day 26. Find more slices here.




11 thoughts on “SOL16, Day 26: Great Read Aloud Need Great Reads

  1. I loved this post today. It was a beautiful reminder for me to not skip our read aloud time because there are never enough minutes in the day! Thank you for being a courageous teacher/writer.

  2. Should I get on that Voxer chat? Thanks for the resources. Read aloud is one change I have made this year that has built a wonderful classroom community. It’s hard to commit the time, but so worth it. Now my kids look forward to it daily.

  3. Those words, What if . . . have incredible power to change the world as we currently know it. Looking over the list, I am thrilled to note that I already have many of these books. Your Voxer groups are powerful in so many ways. Thank you for always bringing the best of the best to the forefront. Read aloud is the most powerful tool in a teacher’s classroom.

  4. Thanks for the link to the list. One of the most rewarding parts of a read aloud is when the students still talk about the book months after reading it.

  5. Your post is such a wonderful reminder of the power of reflection and collaboration! And that Booksource list is such a testament to the good things that can happen as a result. Although I’m a high school English teacher, I’ve been trying to integrate picture books into my writing mini-lessons and quickwrites. Even though they are well into their teens, my students still appreciate the rhythm and heart of a good story. Thanks for sharing this!

  6. I love how you are “still working” on read aloud! Agree – so powerful for all of the reasons you mentioned. Professional study is critical to doing our work better.

  7. In my life my read alouds began when I began reading to my two toddlers. The exchanges that took place, their absolute focus on the pages as I turned them, the details they picked up on, the spellbinding joy of hearing the voice and tone of a story made for a shared experience I cherish till this day.

  8. One of the perks of read alouds: study text on a macro or a micro level. I love the sheer joy of the read aloud and the wide-eyed looks on the children’s faces. Thanks for the resource from Jan.

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