There probably aren’t any educators who would argue against the power of the read aloud, yet when the pressures of the school day hit, read-aloud time seems to be the first thing to get postponed because it’s “just for fun,” right? Wrong! (You already knew that!) Or maybe you’re just plain tired at the end of the day and your voice can’t take anymore…
The benefits of reading aloud are numerous and well-documented by educational research, as well as personal experience! When students are listening to a read-aloud, they are being exposed to fluent reading, increasing their vocabulary, learning reading strategies, enjoying a story, and learning new information. It doesn’t even have to be a “content book”! It is nice to be reminded that something as fun as reading aloud doesn’t need to be sacrificed, in fact, we should work that much harder to guard that time! Let’s face it, even if you’re tired, who doesn’t love a good read-aloud time??
But we are realists too, we know how hard it is to guard even those 10 minutes at the end of the day and how hard it can be to muster the energy to make the story come alive. The spoken word does have power, but it doesn’t matter who speaks it! You are busy – take advantage of technology to still provide your students with the benefits of a read-aloud at your convenience. There are plenty of sites online that will read a story out loud to your students – FOR FREE! Whether you play it for the class or have students listening in stations or independently, these sites can save you time and precious energy!
Every site has something different to offer, so you might not love all of them, but here are a few of our favorites:
- Storytime Online. We LOVE this site, it’s probably our favorite. Run by the Screen Actor’s Guild, it features actors and actresses introducing and reading a popular picture book out loud. The pages and words can be seen as the story is read.
- The Mighty Book. This site has original stories or stories we are not familiar with, but they are read aloud and brought to life. There are other features on this site as well, like games, sing-alongs, comic books, and others.
- Just Books Read Aloud. This site will link to people who have recorded themselves reading popular children’s books. The browsing categories at the top of the page are really helpful! They’re all of different calibers, so click around, until you find ones you like!
- Storytime Online by the Indianapolis Public Library. Think of this site as a directory of sorts. The book covers link out to videos of the books being read, mostly hosted on YouTube or Vimeo. Some of the videos were created by publishers, some are someone reading the book, some are animations of the book – you’ll find a variety of formats, but they all seem to be very well done!
- YouTube. If there’s a specific book you want to have read aloud, just YouTube it! You can often find lots of different versions of a specific book, so be sure to look at the username of the person that uploaded the video and preview it all the way through. However, if you’re just looking for a “library” of videos, there are so many organizations (teachers, schools, libraries, bookstores, publishers, and other organizations) that also have virtual story time channels. Here are some examples: