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Read Aloud Tips: How to Read a Story


Getting Started

This guide gives tips and strategies for Read Alouds.

Read Aloud: How to Read a Story

ERC Read Aloud Book Suggestions

Tips & Strategies

1. Book Selection

  • Read from different genres
  • Choose books for your audience
  • Pre-read the book to find words or illustrations for discussions

2. Prepare the space

  • If your read-aloud is for a group or one-on-one, find a space that suits the need

3. Plan time (15-20 min) and also prompts during the reading of the book

4. Introduce the book

  • Show the book cover and have the viewer guess what the book might be about
  • Read the author and illustrator to understand the concepts and become familiar with names
  • Hold the book wide open and at your side while reading the story 

5. Hold the book wide open

6. Picture walk (optional)
 (If reading one-to-one, the picture walk strategy can be used to support the child in engaging or reading the book.)  A picture walk involves previewing the pictures in the storybook to familiarize the child with the story before reading the text. This step is a pre-reading teaching strategy to provide familiarity with the story and prepare a child for the story or to read. 

  • This strategy uses visual ques as a reading strategy
  • Sparks interest in reading the story
  • Picture walks activate prior knowledge and make connections before a deeper reading
  • It helps readers understand the story sequence to better comprehend reading with text
  • Ask about predictions about the story while doing a picture walk
  • Set up vocabulary with images during picture walk

7. Read with expression

  • Dramatic
  • Fun
  • Sound effects
  • Hand motions 
  • Facial expressions

8. Build in space for response

  • Have listeners repeat a line
  • Do hand motions
  • Make sound effects
  • Share what the listener is thinking

9. Develop ways to respond

  • Some questions can be answered right away to understand the story
  • Some questions are answered in the story itself.

10. Encourage guessing what happens next while reading

  • Point out details in illustrations
  • Invite listeners to use their senses and emotions
    • Have listeners pretend to be a character
    • Ask  how the character feels
    • What did the character hear?
    • What did the character smell?

11. Watch the audience and adjust as needed to continue engagement

12. Create time at the end of the story to ask for story responses and reactions


Questions to ask during or after the read aloud:

  • Use who, what, where, when, why, and how
    • Examples
      • What is the character doing
      • How does the character feel
      • What happened?
      • What are they doing?
      • Why did they respond that way?
      • What do you think will happen next?
      • How would you have written this story?


Stuffed Animal Props for Read Alouds

Head Librarian, ERC

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Jessica Hinson-Williams
Educational Resource Center
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