The Ramped-Up Read Aloud: What To Notice As You Turn The Page
By: Maria Walther
Corwin 2019 (304 pages)
Reviewed By: Becky Jackman
Maria Walther, a proponent of reading aloud, has written a must have book for elementary librarians, especially those on a fixed rotation. Walther opens her book by presenting a list of 10 persuasive reasons to include reading aloud to students as a means of strengthening literacy instruction. From promoting reading to opening windows to other worlds, each of the 10 reasons concludes with a boxed paragraph that begins with “Here’s How This Book Will Help You . . .” The book is written for teachers and librarians and offers concrete suggestions about selecting good read aloud titles, setting up a comfy place for those read alouds, and ways educators can use the book.
The heart of the book is 101 picture books that each have a detailed, individual lesson. The books are separated into six broad categories: Create a Joyful Classroom Community, Converse About Literary Elements-Fiction, Converse About Comprehension-Fiction, Converse About Comprehension-Informational and Narrative Nonfiction, Build Foundational and Language Skills, and finishing with Inspire Writers. Each chapter is further divided into more specific elements and has lessons on three books that can be used to introduce, develop, or reinforce that specific element.
As an example, Chapter One: Create a Joyful Classroom Community offers titles that fit nicely into social-emotional learning. Every selection includes learning targets, before reading suggestions, during reading points, after reading specifics, actual examples from the extend the experience portion, and other similar titles that can be used with that topic. Key vocabulary words are provided. A blank page is included with each chapter so educators can list their favorite read alouds that address that category.
Walther includes a robust citation list of professional resources and children’s literature resources. The index enables you to quickly look for a specific author, title, or topic. Librarians on a fixed schedule rotation will appreciate having lessons they can tailor to fit their needs, or they can suggest to teachers. The book has something to offer for both new and experienced librarians.
Walther has been teaching first graders in Aurora, Illinois, since 1986. She shares her passion for reading aloud at the local, state, and national levels. Walther is a former Illinois Reading Educator of the Year. This is her seventh professional publication.