Read-alouds are an opportunity to introduce any type of conversation in the classroom. Depending on the book chosen, many different topics can be brought up by children making personal connections to the reading. They can also connect a story to another text or something in the world. Although we will often hear students making these connections on their own, if we nudge the talk, we will find how much conversation can be brought about from a simple topic or story.
Before a story begins, some questions you can ask to get students thinking are the following;
-What do you think this might be about?
-Look at the cover. What do you notice?
-Where do you think this story takes place?
-What might we learn in this book? (if it is nonfiction)
-Who do you think the characters are?
-Can you think of any words we might hear in this book?
During and after a read-aloud, you can ask these questions:
-What are you thinking?
-Talk about what you like about this book so far.
-What do you think will happen?
-Has anything like this ever happened to you or someone you know?
-Does this story remind you of anything?
-Does this character remind you of anyone?
-What are you picturing in your head?
-What are you wondering about?
-What do you notice in the illustrations?
-What do you already know about ______?
-What did you learn so far?
The questions and conversation starters are nowhere limited to these options, but they are some to get you started. You will be able to ask more specific questions or make comments more directly related to the story as conversation goes on, and you will be surprised with all of the connections that students can make!