In Defense of Read-Aloud Sustaining Best Practice

For my professional development book in my Special Methods class, chose Steven Layne’s “In Defense of Read-Aloud.” I thought that this would be a great book for me because I have always enjoyed when teachers read to classes and I know as a teacher, that I will want to do the same and I will need proof to give to my coworkers and administration that read-aloud is beneficial in the classroom. This Professional Development book is a great read as well. Layne puts so much of his personality in this book that I found myself laughing at a lot of places.
Chapter 1: What’s All the Fuss About Reading Aloud?read a loud

In this chapter, Layne talks about how he did his doctoral dissertation on read-alouds in schools. He found a lot of research that discussed the benefit of read-alouds. Expected to show the counter to this argument,  he did not find any research that supported the idea that reading-aloud to students wasn’t beneficial. He also talks about how teachers need to lead in literacy and what better way to do that than to read to the students?!

One of my favorite parts of this chapter was when Layne talks about how one of the mothers of one of his 5th grade students, told him that he gets paid to teach, not to read to the students. It is people like this that make it necessary for teachers to have research to back up their teaching practices. He discusses how he doesn’t go the the hospital and tell a doctor how to do his job due to the fact that he doesn’t have the knowledge to do so, therefore parents and and administrators should have the same respect for teachers. They do not have the knowledge to teach children, therefore they shouldn’t tell a teacher how to run their classroom.

I loved the position statement at the end of this chapter by Jerry L. Johns of Northern Illinois University. He gives a list of 10 reasons why reading to students is beneficial.

  • Stimulates language development
  • Helps students move naturally into reading
  • Shows that reading is pleasurable
  • Demonstrates that print is meaningful
  • Fosters an interest in books
  • Stimulates students to react to what is read
  • Helps create favorable attitudes toward reading
  • Encourages students to listen actively
  • Serves as a model
  • Builds rapport

I am seriously thinking about lamenting this and hanging it in my classroom, sticking it in my pedagogy, and my syllabus so that students and parents know why I plan to read to my students from the get-go and why.

In Chapter 2, Layne discusses establishing a time to read to students and that happens during that time. Because no person sits in an uncomfortable place at home when they read, he gets the students out of their desks and lets them lounge comfortably around the classroom. He also puts a sign on his door that says “Do Not Disturb.” I think this is a brilliant idea as well. I hate being interrupted from my book, it ruins the magic of reading. He also thinks of great ways to get students excited about the book that they will be reading, Layne gives great detail about every aspect of read-aloud time in this chapter.

Chapter 3 is dedicated to choosing appropriate books for your read-aloud. He discusses genres and a list of recommendations for every age.

Chapter 4 is titled “The Art of Reading Aloud.”If you aren’t going to be an animated reader, then the students will find it boring. He discusses reading with expression and reader’s theatre.

The final chapter is “The Books We Love to Read Aloud.” There are pages and pages and PAGES of real life teacher recommendations and recommendations from Layne personally.

I really loved this book and I think that it will be extremely beneficial to me someday when I am reading to students. There is so much our students can gain from read-alouds and we as teachers need to utilize this tool.

I suggest all of you check it out!!


4 thoughts on “In Defense of Read-Aloud Sustaining Best Practice

  1. Sounds like a great book! I believe you would have no problem arguing why a read-aloud is beneficial. And just to make it clear to everyone, you would put it on everything! 🙂 Great review!


  2. Wow! This really seemed fantastic. Read-allies is something I’ve definitely been interested in applying in my own classroom. What I don’t really know is what I could do, and I only have a vague idea of why. I love that the author of this book has so much knowledge. He has put all of the research neatly into a book for me. I need to get my hands on this.


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