Choral reading is group reading aloud in which a fluent reader serves as a model for students learning to read. It is a reading method frequently used in pre-K to second grade classrooms and in ESL classrooms, but it can also be a good method to teach reading at home.
Here’s how it works:
- A fluent reader, usually a teacher, parent or recorded voice, reads a story aloud. The students gather around the teacher who uses a large-sized book whose text is also large. As she reads, she points to each word. Or, if children have their own copies of the text, they point to the words she says with their fingers.
- The teacher reads the selection once while the children follow along silently with their eyes on the text.
- The teacher reads the selection several more times, each time with students joining in for the words they can say. Usually, with repeated readings, students can read more of the words.
- Often the selection is reread the next day or soon after to reinforce the students’ ability to read the selection.
Why do choral reading?
- It’s fun. Children love to read aloud when they are one of many voices. Many times the selections have repeated phrases like “I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down,” or rhymes, which increase the fun.
- More skilled readers serve as models for the less skilled students sitting by their sides. The less skilled readers listen not only to their teacher, but to their peers, and they learn from each other.
- Less skilled students, who might be embarrassed to read aloud by themselves, feel comfortable as part of the group. Their mistakes either can’t be heard or are ignored. They feel more confident about reading aloud. They also realize that with repeated readings, they can read more words.
- ESL students learn proper pronunciation, phrasing and intonation from listening and mimicking the fluent reader.
- Dyslexic readers, who often memorize words rather than sound them out, remember better because they are enjoying the reading experience. Their lack of reading ability is less noticeable when they are part of a group.