The Read Aloud - A Favorite for Everyone

So who remembers coming in from lunch recess all hot and sweaty, getting a nice long drink at the water fountain, and then putting your head down on your desk in anticipation of the next chapter of the class read aloud?  This is the setting of some of my fondest book memories.  Not only was it a wonderful and relaxing way to transition into whatever we happened to be doing in class later that afternoon, but it was such an amazing way to experience a story.  Whether it was one of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books or Island of the Blue Dolphins, I still remember closing my eyes and picturing what was happening in the story as my teacher read aloud. 

Those are my childhood read aloud memories, but I also have teacher read aloud memories.  When I got my first teaching job, one of the things I looked forward to most was the opportunity to pass along that read aloud experience to my students.  Choosing what books I would read to my classes was great fun for me.  And I have to confess, there may have been more than a few times during my thirteen years of teaching third grade that my read aloud time went a little longer than it should have.  But what is a teacher to do when her students beg her to read just one more chapter?  😏   Having the entire class experience the same story at the same time was such a pleasure to watch.

Now that I'm an author, I have a third kind of read aloud experience.  It's when teachers tell me how much they enjoy reading one of my books as a read aloud.  I never dreamed when I was that sweaty-haired kid listening to my teacher read to the class that I would one day write a book that kids would listen to at read aloud time, and I never imagined when I was a teacher reading my favorite books to my students that I would one day have teachers tell me that they read my book to their students.  It's really one of the greatest compliments I get as an author.

So, why write about read alouds during "back-to-school" time?  It's a great time to reminisce with those who have their own great read aloud memories.  And it's a perfect time to remind teachers just what an impact classroom read aloud time can make in a student's life.  There are so many ways to enjoy books, and I think classroom read alouds can be one of the very best!

Happy Reading Aloud,
Nancy J. Cavanaugh

A few of my read aloud favorites

Nancy J. Cavanaugh

Nancy is the award-winning author of This Journal Belongs to Ratchet, Always, Abigail, Just Like Me, and Elsie Mae Has Something to Say.  Nancy is a former elementary and middle school teacher as well as a school librarian.  One of her favorite parts of writing for children is being able to say, “I’m working” when reading middle grade novels.  Nancy enjoys visiting schools and sharing her love of writing with students.  She also enjoys sharing her expertise about writing and children’s literature with teachers and librarians.  Besides reading and writing, Nancy loves eating pizza in her hometown of Chicago.


  1. My most vivid memory of a "read aloud" was in 8th grade when my homeroom/history teacher read us Animal Farm.

  2. Yes! Yes! Yes! For me it was Johnny Tremain in fourth grade - a book I cherish to this day.

  3. I know! I get SUCH a thrill out of hearing my book's been read out loud in class.


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