I've never been a teacher, so I've never known the terror of standing in front of a room full of kids with the mission of holding their attention for several hours a day. However, I'm currently on book tour and that means I read from "Welcome to Washington, Fina Mendoza" to a bookstore audience of friends, family...and KIDS. Yikes! Those short attention spans mean I have to add something extra to the readings.
Dominique Corpus says that "something extra" is what's needed to tempt a reluctant reader to pick up a book. Dominique is an elementary school librarian in Webster, Texas. He says when it comes to reading aloud, performance counts. "I'm not a guy who's about puppets or anything, but I try to be as animated as I can." Dominique says he sees the payoff of extra effort when the book gets checked out of the library. "Once the kids see that you're into the story, they'll fall right into place."
Here's some read aloud tips from Education World:
Prepare: review the text, looking for words or concepts that might be confusing.
Set the stage. Close the door, dim the lights, tune up their listening skills by asking them to look for something specific in the story.
Read just the title. Or just the chapter title. Ask students to predict what the section will be about.
Use character voices or at least use inflection and expression and energy. You're on stage!
Ask followup questions. Encourage students to use sentences starting with "I noticed" and "I wonder."
I'm taking Dominique's tip to heart, calling on my ten years of acting to put on a performance for the kids in my bookstore audience. It seems to be working: no walkouts yet!