This post originally appeared on the blog Mrs. Jump’s Class.  

 
Teacher read alouds are just as important as giving students time to read independently. Read alouds take the student’s focus away from having to decode the words and gives students a chance to really hone in and focus on the meaning of the story.
 
 
 
I love it when I read a story to children, and they love it so much that they beg me to READ IT AGAIN!  
It’s so important to reread books to children and give them time to:
hear you thinking aloud as you try to make sense of the story,
 fall in love with the characters and get to know them, 
 think deeply about the story and discuss it with their peers,
respond to reading through writing and drawing.
 
 
 
 
In our Guiding Readers units, we’ve developed a reading program that does all of the above!
 
Let me share some examples with you. The following examples are from Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds (October Set two)
 
 
We read part of the story and then stop to give them a chance to predict what they think will happen next.  
 
 
In kindergarten, most of the meaning will come through drawing this early in the year.
This little sweetie thinks that the carrots will get stuck in a pit.  
So she drew a picture and wrote the word pit.

 

 
These are differentiated so that the students who are ready for more can do more.
 
Her prediction says, The Creepy Carrots will get stuck in the pit.
This version then asks them to write about what happened in the text.
She wrote, The Creepy Carrots are locked in the fence.
 
 
On Day 2, we read the story again and focus on retelling.
 

 

 
We work together to complete the retelling and then the kids do it independently.

 

 
 
 
On another day, we wrote about our favorite part of the story.

 

 
Upper left: I like the part when they were creeping at the grave.
Upper right: Jasper loved to eat carrots.
Lower left: When he gets scared.
Lower right: I like creepy carrots when they suddenly reappear.
 
 
Depending on the story, we work on inferencing, comparing and contrasting, or making connections.
Creepy Carrots is the perfect story for working on making connections, because we’ve all been scared at one point or another. We know that some of our boys will say, “I’ve never been afraid.”  (Yeah, right. Weren’t you the one hiding behind me last week when there was a spider in the room?  haha!) We worded our question with that thought in mind.
The paper says, “Readers make connections. In our story, Jasper was really afraid of the creepy carrots.  Write about a time when you or someone you know was afraid.”  

 

 
Upper left: I was scared of ???? (bonus points for you if you can figure it out!)
Upper right: I have been in a tornado. It was scary!
Lower left: My mom is afraid of heights.
Notice that the one on the right looks totally different.  We wanted to also provide a solution for those of you who are limited on copies. These are made to fit in a composition or spiral notebook.  
The writing on this page says, “I was afraid of the Tower of Terror. “
 
We are so proud of these units!!!
Giving students the opportunity to respond in writing makes their thinking visible.  
 
 
This is also a great story to use for working on Cause & Effect.

 

 
 
 
A few tips!
 
Show your students how to draw the characters in the story using simple shapes.
 
 
Please, I’m begging you… Don’t spell for your students and don’t correct their spelling.
I know it’s hard, but we are building young authors and if you do either of these things they will STOP trying and rely on you! You can read more about my philosophy of writing here.  
 
 
 
It isn’t necessary to read the book EVERY day! We use the same book for five days.
However, we usually only read the book all the way through two times.
Each day we focus on the page in the story that correlates with the comprehension strategy we are working on.  
 
What about phonics skills? When do you work on those?
We work on phonics skills during the Interactive Writing portion of the lessons and we also have word work included in the units. You can be flexible and do the word work during the time of day that works best for you!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Happy Reading, Y’all!  

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Deanna JumpDeanna Jump is an award -inning kindergarten teacher. She has taught kindergarten and 1st grade for 18 years and holds an Educational Specialist Degree in Early Literacy and Reading. Deanna has a true passion for creating and sharing best practices and activities that make learning fun. Deanna is an active presenter where she travels around the country to share her knowledge of a hands-on approach to teaching and learning. She is also the author of the kindergarten blog Mrs. Jump’s Class.