Importance of Read Aloud
A good writing program includes the use of good literature. Before a child is ever able to independently use specific writing skills and strategies, s/he is able to listen to and identify these qualities in good literature through read- aloud experiences. Read aloud serves more than just to entertain our students. It is used to build a strong sense of community which is important in a classroom where children will be asked to take risks in their writing. It also serves as a model for what good writing looks and sounds like. By closely examining what good writers do, we and our students can begin to internalize these techniques and employ them in our own writing.
It is important to remember, however, that first and foremost, a book should be read aloud to be enjoyed as readers first. Only then should we begin to use the literature to teach writing. Mentor texts should be read more than once. According to Jeff Anderson in his book Mechanically Inclined, “by reading a text more than once, we create a shared text that we can refer to again and again—a mentor text that can show us craft and mechanics techniques. This repeated revisiting, viewing all the different layers in the text, deepens students’ understanding of how to read like writers.
The following books are great resources for using read alouds to enhance writing instruction: