Choral reading is reading aloud in unison with a whole class
or group of students. After hearing the teacher read and discuss
students reread the text together. Choral reading helps build students'
fluency, self-confidence, vocabulary knowledge, motivation, and enjoyment
of literature. Reading and rereading shared texts may have the additional
benefit of building a sense of community in the classroom.
Reading Can Foster Fluency in Struggling Readers
provides support for students who may ordinarily feel self-conscious
or nervous about reading aloud in class. Reading
with more fluent readers enables less proficient readers to be
successful with a shared text. Choral reading may provide the
to encourage struggling readers to take risks and build their
confidence. When students participate in choral reading on a regular
basis, students will internalize the fluent reading of the text
being read and begin to transfer their developing fluency to
Choosing Texts for Choral Reading
Almost any text can be read chorally.
Shorter texts with rhythm and distinct parts often work best. Using
community texts can
school spirit, classroom community, or civic consciousness.
Poetry (see Poetry
page for more ideas)
- Poems by Newbery Medal Winner
Paul Fleischman, such as
- Joyful Noises: Poems for Two Voices (HarperTrophy, 1992)
- Big Talk:
Poems for Four
Voices (Candlewick, 2000)
- I am Phoenix:
Poems for Two Voices (HarperTrophy, 1989)
Books with rhyme, rhythm, and
- Favorite rhymes and songs, such as
- The Itsy Bitsy
- Five Little Pumpkins
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Peter Cottontail
- Predictable text, such as Brown Bear, Brown
with community value
- School song
- The Pledge of Allegiance
Luther King, Jr.'s I Have a Dream speech
Types of choral reading (adapted
from The Fluent Reader by Timothy Rasinski)
Antiphonal -- Divide
the group into groups and assign parts of the text to each group.
Give students an opportunity
they will read before bringing them back together to
chorally read together.
Dialogue -- Select a text that contains different
speaking parts. Assign the part of the narrator to one group and
to other groups.
Cumulative Choral Reading -- The number
of students reading gradually builds as the text is read. An individual
small group reads
the first line or section of a passage, and then
they are joined by another
group. By the end of the passage, the whole group
is reading. (This can also be done in reverse, starting
group and ending
with just one person or group.)
Impromptu Choral Reading -- As a text is read, students join in or fade out as they choose.
may choose to
words or sections of the text, read every other
line, or the whole
selection. Students choose ahead of time what section(s)
of the text they will read. (If no one selects
a section, someone
If you like these ideas, Rasinski includes
more ideas for choral reading in his booksThe Fluent
Reader and Goodbye
What it Looks Like
A Poem to Read, A Song to Sing
Garrett's 2nd graders begin each day with a poem and a song. She
new poem and
love rereading and singing the songs throughout
the week. She often coordinates
poems or songs with science, social studies,
or author study units.
How do you use choral reading in your class?
Resources and Links
Choral Reading Method -- Includes suggestions
for selecting text for choral reading,
as well as some
for using this
Poetry - Writing choral poetry lesson plan. Includes samples of
Poetry to Teach Reading -- Includes teaching and management tips,
of poetry-related links.
Joyful Noises: Creating Poems for Voices
and Ears by Laura Apol and
Language Arts, Vol.
Iss. 4, pp.
the efforts of a fifth-grade teacher
and a visiting poet to rekindle
how the authors introduced students
to poems for two voices (using P.
The poetry unit culminated in a project
in which students read and performed
then wrote and performed their own
poems for two voices.
Using Choral Reading
to Promote Language
Learning for ESL Students by Joyce
K. McCauley & Daniel
S. McCauley. Reading Teacher, Vol.
45 Issue 7, p526-533. www.reading.org
Examines the benefits of choral readings
as they relate to language acquisition
in general. Factors
The role that choral reading plays
in enhancing children's progress; Implementing
reading; Poem suggestions;
Cunningham, P. (2005) Phonics they
use: Words for reading and writing.
Rasinski, T. V. (2003).
The fluent reader: Oral reading strategies for
word recognition, fluency,
New York: Scholastic.
Rasinski, T. V. & Padak, N. (2004). Effective
reading strategies: Teaching children
who find reading difficult (3rd ed.). Columbus,
Strickland, D. S.,
Ganske, K., & Monroe,
J. K. (2002). Supporting struggling
readers and writers: Strategies for classroom intervention
3-6. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.