A Recipe for a Successful Read Aloud
Think about your favorite recipe or when you look up a new meal to prepare. Every recipe has at least two parts:
1) the ingredient list
2) the method to prepare
When you cook, you need to know what to put into the dish. To make an omelet, the egg is a key ingredient!
The cook needs to know what to do with the eggs as well...How to crack the egg, what to do with the shell, how to scramble, and how to learn the consistency needed in the pan before flipping. All these tasks take time and practice. This is not something that can simply be perfected just by reading the recipe.
Just as it takes time for someone to come up with writing a recipe to follow, it is just as important when creating meaningful, educational experiences. All of these include the correct steps, using the right learning strategies and activities, then applying those in a hands-on model with practice. This is an integral part of the educational learning experience for both teachers and students.
Now, that I’ve made you hungry with the talk of omelets, go grab a snack if needed and come back to finish reading!
One of my favorite educational recipes is that of a read aloud. You can work to incorporate food literacy into these lessons. According to the Ontario Dietitians in Public Health (2019), food literacy is a set of skills and attributes that help in the understanding and connections between where our food comes from, how it is grown and prepared, where we eat it and the people that we share it with.
Read Aloud Ingredients
Read Aloud Recipe
Choose a book: Select a book that is appropriate for the age group you are engaging and explore before sharing with your group. A link to provide a beginning list of books about food systems can be found here.
Talking: Talk about the book you chose with your children/students and ask them to look at the cover. What questions or predictions come from this introduction? A link to provide information regarding conversations with young children can be found here.
Read the title and author's name
Predict what will happen in the story
Preview the story
Introduce vocabulary words
Connect the story to real-life experiences
You want to provide a reason for the children to listen.
Singing: Pick a song related to the topic/book. Share with your students. This could be a simple finger play or something found on YouTube to share. A link to provide some background information on the importance of music in early childhood can be found here.
Reading: Read the book with your children/students. Allow time to pause for questions/connections made by students. A read aloud is interactive! A link to provide some background information on the importance of dialogic reading can be found here.
Writing: Provide paper and a writing utensil to allow children to write about what they read following the story. This can include having them draw pictures and dictating to you what they drew. A link to provide information on writing in early childhood can be found here.
Playing: The sky is the limit here. Children can retell the story in dramatic actions, flannel boards, providing props within dramatic play centers, or games. A link to provide more information on play can be found here.
An Example Read Aloud
Written by Phyllis Root
Illustrated by G. Brian Karas
Singing: Adult gains children’s attention by singing a familiar song: Old MacDonald Had a Farm. Children join in and come up with different animals.
Talking: Adult shows the book Anywhere Farm to children and reads the title, author, and illustrator. The adult asks if this looks like Old MacDonald’s farm. Compare and contrast.
Writing: Adult begins writing responses.
Reading: Adult begins reading the story.
Writing: Adult provides materials for children to write/draw their own picture after reading the story. Children can write or dictate for the adult.
Talking: Adult allows time for interactions (questions/connections).
Playing: After the story, the adult shows props such as pots, plants, shovels, and fruit and vegetable toys. The adult explains expectations for these props and allows children time to explore during the group. Each child can then transition with a prop to the designated area to play.
*A final reminder: Be mindful of your child(ren)’s developmental levels. Tailor the read aloud according to the child(ren)’s needs.*
Bright Bites (2019). Retrieved from: https://brightbites.ca/learn-more/nutrition/what-is-food-literacy/.