Choral reading is reading aloud in unison with a whole class or group of students. Choral reading helps build students' fluency, self-confidence, and motivation. Because students are reading aloud together, students who may ordinarily feel self-conscious or nervous about reading aloud have built-in support.
Why use choral reading?
- It can provide less skilled readers the opportunity to practice and receive support before being required to read on their own.
- It provides a model for fluent reading as students listen.
- It helps improve the ability to read sight words.
|When to use:||Before reading||During reading||After reading|
|How to use:||Individually||With small groups||Whole class setting|
How to use choral reading
- Choose a book or passage that works well for reading aloud as a group:
- patterned or predictable (for beginning readers)
- not too long; and
- is at the independent reading level of most students
- Provide each student a copy of the text so they may follow along. (Note: You may wish to use an overhead projector or place students at a computer monitor with the text on the screen)
- Read the passage or story aloud and model fluent reading for the students.
- Ask the students to use a marker or finger to follow along with the text as they read.
- Reread the passage and have all students in the group read the story or passage aloud in unison.
Watch choral reading in action
Go inside Carmen Tisdale's first grade classroom in Columbia, South Carolina to observe how Carmen models fluent expressive reading using text cues as her students follow the text silently. Then, the kids read aloud together. Joanne Meier, our research director, introduces the strategy and reminds teachers to be sure to carefully match the text to your students' reading level and to check in to be sure the kids are understanding what they are reading aloud.
The following link includes a set of Choral Reading activities with a wide variety of texts, including books, magazines, newspapers, electronic media, comics, jokes, poems/verse, and non-traditional types of print:
The website below offers teachers several poetry options conducive to the Choral Reading strategy along with some interesting tips on reading and language development.
The example of Choral Reading found on this webpage uses the children's book James and the Giant Peach.
This website includes examples of Choral Reading activities that correspond to introductory science concepts.
This website includes a script for the Choral Reading of "Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain."
Children's books to use with this strategy
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
This title needs no introduction nor do its spin-offs like Baby Bear Baby Bear, What Do You See?, Panda Bear Panda Bear, What Do You See? or Polar Bear Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?
Florian's poems (accompanied by gentle illustrations) are just right for reading aloud as readers theater.
Mr. Popper's Penguins
This fantastic account of how one family lives with a penguin sent to them by a relative is dramatic and very funny.
You Read to Me, I'll Read to You
Picture book/easy reader/poetry
The short, humorous, rhyming pieces are color coded for reading in tandem, especially good for grades 1-3 though will be enjoyed by younger. This is the first in a series of books intended to be read aloud in pairs (and may also be appropriate for partner reading though may take it in a different direction).
for second language learners, students of varying reading skill, and for younger learners
- Teachers may wish to pair students of varying abilities together and assign each student a different section of the passage to read.
See the research that supports this strategy
Hasbrouck, J. (2006). For Students Who Are Not Yet Fluent, Silent Reading Is Not the Best Use of Classroom Time. American Educator, Summer 2006, 30(2).
Texas Reading Initiative. (2007). Fluency: Instructional Guidelines and Student Activities.