• Nichole LaGrow

Limitations of Read Alongs

As much as I enjoy adding the Read Alongs to our YouTube Channel, I find they lack the depth needed to support diving into a text.

The read alongs are meant to be an introduction to reading. They help guide the reader through translating the letters and words on the page into the words of a story. But they are provided without context to shape our understanding of the text. There might be phrases that are out of date or unique to a specific region or country. The author might employ poetic or literary devices to help craft their literary world. But the read alongs do not provide explanations from a more experienced reader to frame the story. How then can we help young readers learn and apply these literacy skills? How can we add depth to our reading?

One solution is to participate in the read alongs with your child. It is important that you know what your child is reading and can engage your child in dialogue about a work. The questions do not need to be deep. In fact, for any reader, you can start simply with two questions: Did you like the story? and Why? These two questions can jumpstart a conversation about what the child is learning from the read along.

Another solution is to participate in the read alongs with others. Book clubs are not just for adults. Participate in the read alongs with your child's peer group. The interaction can encourage younger readers to respect and explore different perspectives.

When I work with readers individually or even in small group tutoring sessions, I can provide that guidance directly. But to add the guidance into the read alongs feels more like a distraction from the story than an asset to help readers. Perhaps as our Read Along library grows, I will add resources for parents to guide their children as they hone their reading skills and develop their own Read Along Book clubs.

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