ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Real-Life Read Alouds

Updated on September 8, 2013

The benefits of a regular read-aloud time to children are well-known. Along with building vocabulary, strengthening listening and comprehension skills, it's a powerful bonding experience for both parent and child.

Whenever you set up a reading session, you'll want to vary the selections, making sure to include some non-fiction items. Non-fiction not only consists of informational texts, but other formats such as biographies, poetry, and even children's magazines.

In fact, children's conversations are constantly peppered with "Why?", "Where does it come from?", and other curiosity queries. They want to take in everything that's in and about their world.

A good opportuity to answer questions like these is to incorporate informational and other non-ficton into the read-aloud.

Why non-fiction?

Non-fiction/informational books are very important as they give children an understanding of the world, an how things work. Well-written items in this genre ignites interest, holds attention, and inspires creativity. As a matter of fact, this category may hook many a reluctant reader as they hear the spoken word. While they sometimes don't handle reading independently, they can certainly make progress from listening.

Sties have sown hat what adults read mostly at work and at home is factual, whether it's newspapers, magazines, manuals, recipes, etc. Likewise, a similar share of materials holds true for the juvenile sector. In an info-driven world, it's essential o be prepared to deal with the daily onslaught on facts and other data. Plus, about 96% of text found on the Internet is informational.

As a result, providing a balance between fiction and non-fiction texts gives children exposure to both literary formats. It encourages research and inquiry, improving comprehension skills for content reading. Not only does this include informational items, but biographies, poetry, and even children's magazines as well.

Time For Discovery

Fortunately, not all juvenile informational books are boring or ho-hum. There's an explosion of quality, appealing works available currently from publishers covering an array of subject areas. In making choices, be sure to:

  • Focus on topics that interest your child;
  • Look for interesting text, avoiding complicated or heavily treated content;
  • Consider materials with chunks of info or shorter chapters
  • Make note is the words would still make sense without the visuals;
  • Above all, check for accuracy. Outdated info does more harm than good

Where to Start Looking

  • Local public library -find out from the children's department which authors are noteworthy for young readers, among them Gail Gibbons, Jim Arnosky, et. al.
  • Recommendations -- poll your children's teachers, family members and friends for their picks
  • Bookstores -- visit both new and used sites
  • Mainstream publishers -- companies such as Random House, Harper Collins, Macmillan, and others maintain informative websites with book reviews and news that can point you to potential items of interest
  • Classroom studies -- what you child is learning in school can be a stimulus in finding related non-fiction for a home read-aloud
  • Online resources -- A plethora of sources include, the American Library Association, Jim Trelease on reading, the Children's Book Council, and a growing host of blogs and author sites


Getting Started

When you start a read-aloud session based around information, it's a lot more than reading a book from front to back in one sitting.

Preparationis key. Before, reading, preview the text so you can tailor your voice, and get familiar with words or phrases you're accustomed with. Besides, varying the voice is what brings text to life, and helps to trigger the imagination.

With your child, skim through, looking at pictures, and other features to strengthen prediction skills. Ask if they knew anything before about the topic, and what they'd like to find out. Learn how the illustrations helped with their understanding.

Embrace flexibility--you can share chunks or chapters over a span of time. Often, you can skip all over, or start in the middle, and not lose continuity. If there's an index, use it to find a topi that interests them, and read that section aloud.

The Interactive Read-Aloud

During your reading, make it interactive--this is where your child earnestly listens and responds to being read to by answering questions, thinking critically, and making connections. Stop periodically to get their feedback.

Use "Think Alouds,"which are open-ended triggers coming from you to highlight or make connections between the text and the child. Ask what they liked or disliked about the selection. For instance, say: "This section is like...", or "I think this means....", or "The pictures help us....". Find out if they have any questions, too.

Pairing Up

An innovative way of making a link between fiction ad informational reads is the use of text sets.

What is that?

Basically, it's a combination of a non-fiction book and a fiction book on a similar topic or theme to enhance learning. Doing this gives an opportunity to learn about the text features pf non-fiction, and compare how they are alike or different.

The good thing is, you don't have to limit a text set to just books. The information could also come from brochures, magazines, or web sites, presenting a varied range of resources .on a chosen subject, so that they can see how knowledge is offered in numerous ways.

One way to implement this practice is to read the fiction selection one day, followed by the informational selection the next day. You might want to alternate genres, or read aloud one genre followed by the other. There's no one "right" way to do this.

After reading, it might be good to help your child create a list of what fiction writers do--create stories, draw pictures, etc., and what non-fiction writers do--conduct lots of research, use charts, present factual data, etc. Reading both types of books shows a child how fiction primarily entertains, and non-fiction essentially explains.

Sampling of Childen's Non-FictionAuthors (USA)

While the area of authors specializing in youth non-fiction is replete with accomplished authors, here is a very brief listing:
David Adler-- Biographies
Joanna Cole-- Science
Jean Fritz --US history and legends
Gail Gibbons-- Folklore, zoology, geography, and history
William Loren Katz --African American and Native American hitory
Kathleen Krull --Biographies
Julius Lester-- African-American history
Jim Murphy-- US history
Seymour Simon --Science

Not limited to just the younger ones, older children also benefit by building on needed. complex study and research habits.

It all boils down to when you put informational books into the read-aloud mix, it can be a rewarding and engaging experience for both you and your child.

The Best Read Aloud Format

Which genre is more important in reading aloud to your child?

See results


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      EA Barnes 

      8 years ago

      Thanks for great tips on making time for read alouds more creative, memorable and precious. Very inspiring.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)