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Whole Group Read-Alouds

Assigned Parts
Adapted by Christina Porter from Good-bye Round Robin, Michael F. Opitz, Timothy V. Rasinski

Prepare handouts of the text in advance: working in chronological order, sentence by sentence or paragraph by paragraph, highlight a chunk of the text so that each student will receive his/her handout of the text with one or more highlighted chunks, to be read aloud when the time comes. Assigned Parts can be done chorally, with two or more students receiving the same highlighted passages or speakers. In a narrative passage, the teacher or a student volunteer can read the narrator’s text, and students can be assigned to read only the dialogue for their assigned speakers. 

Allow time for students to discuss the meanings of words and phrases as they are used in the text, to analyze their impact on meaning and tone, and to practice their assigned parts in advance. This practice enhances greater fluency and comprehension and encourages the habit of re-reading. 

Standards: RL4, RIT4, SL1, S 6, L4, L5

Choral Readings

Choral readings, done with multiple voices in whole or small group settings, honor the oral tradition of expression and can be an effective strategy for practicing and improving fluency. Often done with poetry, monologues, and historical speeches, choral readings encourage students to determine the central ideas of a text, evaluate the speaker’s point of view, and explore the connections between meaning and tone, meter, rhyme, and rhetorical patterns without the anxiety often associated with oral reading and public speaking. With dramatic text, some students can work in small groups adding sound effects to the reading. A creative example of this is the choral reading for the three witches in Shakespeare Set Free: Teaching Macbeth, edited by Christopher Renino (246-48).

Standards: RL1, RIT1, RL4, RIT4, SL1, L4, L5


From Checking for Understanding: Formative Assessment Techniques for Your Classroom, Douglas Fisher and Nancy Frey

Also called Reciprocal Questioning, this strategy is designed to teach students to question a text they are reading for the first time and, through questioning, to grasp the main ideas and the order and sequence of ideas and events. Used at the beginning of a unit or extended text, it can also provide teachers with an initial understanding of students’ background knowledge. Over time, this reading routine can be transferred to students working in pairs.


  • Either silently or in a read-aloud, teacher and students read a segment of text.
  • Students ask the teacher questions about the content they just read.
  • Teacher and students change roles. Now everyone reads the next segment of text.
  • Teacher asks the students questions about the text.
  • Students and teachers take turns back and forth.

Standards: RL1, RL2, RL 3, RL4, RIT1, RIT2, RIT3, RIT4, SL1


Readers’ Theatre
Adapted from Checking for Understanding 80-81

In contrast to read-alouds like Assigned Parts and Choral Readings, Readers’ Theatre begins with students working in small groups to adapt a piece of text into a script. Then students rehearse a dramatic reading of the script without props, costumes, sets, or memorization. This reading activity requires students to comprehend and analyze the elements of a text (the ideas and arguments, the evidence, characterization, vocabulary, structure, purpose, point of view, and context) and to speak their script with clarity and conviction.

Standards: The act of transmediating a literary, rhetorical, or informational print text into a script and a spoken presentation, Readers’ Theatre has the potential to address all of the standards for Reading Literature and Informational Text. W3, W4, W5, potentially W6, SL1, SL4, potentially SL5, SL6