Choral Reading

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.

When to use: Before reading During reading After reading
How to use: Individually With small groups Whole class setting

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.

How to use choral reading

  1. Choose a book or passage that works well for reading aloud as a group:
    • Patterned or predictable (for beginning readers)
    • Not too long
    • At the independent reading level of most students
  2. 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)
  3. Read the passage or story aloud and model fluent reading for the students.
  4. Ask the students to use a marker or finger to follow along with the text as they read.
  5. Reread the passage and have all students in the group read the story or passage aloud in unison.

Choral Reading: Grade 1

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.

Choral Reading: Grade 3

A third grade small group engages in a choral reading activity. There are 4 students in this demonstration and they are reading the text, A Dream Schedule. (From the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide: Foundational skills to support reading for understanding in kindergarten through 3rd grade.)

Collect resources

Language Arts

This planning checklist for a choral reading lesson uses the poem “One Sister for Sale” by Shel Silverstein. See example >

This PDF includes dozens of poems for shared, choral, paired, and echo reading. See example >

The website below offers teachers several poetry options conducive to the Choral Reading strategy along with some interesting tips on reading and language development. See example >

The example of choral reading found on this site uses the children's book James and the Giant Peach. See example >


This lesson plan includes examples of choral reading activities that correspond to introductory science concepts. See example >

Social Studies

This website includes a script for the choral reading of the children's book Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain. See example >

Differentiated instruction

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.

Children's books to use with this strategy

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

By: Paul Fleischman
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

These poems introduce various insects and their lives; ideal for sharing aloud and for relating to informational books on insects.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

By: Bill Martin Jr
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

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?



By: Douglas Florian
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Cheery watercolor illustrations combine with short, playful poems to evoke the changes that happen in the fall. It’s "Awe-Tumn" after all, when "…autumn leaves/Leave me in awe."

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Mr. Popper's Penguins

By: Richard Atwater, Florence Atwater
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When Admiral Drake sends a penguin named Captain Cook to the Popper family, Mr. Popper's dreams of seeing the world begin to come true. Humor abounds in this early Newbery Honor book as readers follow Mr. Popper and his penguins to Antarctica.

You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Stories to Read Together

You Read to Me, I'll Read to You: Very Short Stories to Read Together

By: Mary Ann Hoberman
Genre: Poetry
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Rhyming tales written for two voices makes an ideal — and humorous — introduction to readers' theater. Well known fairy tales have been adapted, reorganized and reinvigorated with lively language and sprightly illustrations, worthy of many dramatizations.


I'm learning about this now in Theatre class for Arts and the Child required for my degree in teaching kindergarten at University of Houston-Clear Lake.

There's an article in the Reading Teacher on choral reading by Dr. David Paige that helped me. I have also recorded my class during the first reading and then later in the week after they improved. The students really liked hearing how they improved.

With older students you can take a popular song (appropriate song!) and print out the lyrics and have them perform w no music. or you can have them write their own choral reading passages.You can give them a topic or a word bank to get started. They love this!

I would like to use choral reading with older students as I feel it would be very benificial. How can I implement it without making the students feel like babies with it?

Some how I'm kind of struggling with choral reading but I'm getting better by the day.

I used choral reading while reading poems, it really helped my struggling readers.

I use this strategy as part of the CAFE fluency work. We have a poetry anthology which we all read together.

I have used this strategy for years. It's very effective with struggling readers.

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