Blog Posts

Reading to Students in a Remote Environment

If you walk through an elementary school during the first week of school, at almost any time of day, you will hear teachers reading aloud to their students.  Teachers use books to teach lessons about friendship and about being an individual.  We use old favorites, such as Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester to teach the importance of being yourself, and we use newer books such as My Teacher is a Monster (No I am Not) by Peter Brown to help our students see that although teachers may seem scary at first, deep down they are kind and caring. 

The students in my district came back to school on Wednesday, and are currently learning in a fully remote model.  The classrooms and hallways are very quiet. If you walk through the halls, though, one thing hasn’t changed.  You will hear teachers sharing books with their students.  This post highlights some of the creative ways that teachers have chosen to share books with their students. 

Screen Recording

Each year, the fourth grade teachers at my school love to share a new book welcoming the students to fourth grade before they arrive.  This year, sharing the story looked a little different.  The teachers joined each other on a Google Meet and read the story School’s first Day of School by Adam Rex.  They used screencastify to record themselves reading the book, and shared the recording with their families the night before school began. 

Using a Document Camera

A first grade teacher places the pages of her book below a document camera while she reads.  She presents these images to her students, so that they can see the pictures and the words clearly as she points to them.  

Pre-Recorded Books

Many teachers use pre recorded videos of books to share with their class.  One first grade teacher shares  videos with her students, however she mutes the sound and opts to read the story aloud while the video is playing.  Many others opt to play videos for their class to hear.  These pre recorded books can be found on youtube  as well as on sites such as , where you can listen and watch actors reading books aloud.

The Traditional Read

Many teachers choose to read to their students just as they have in the past. They read aloud and hold up the pictures.  I observed several teachers doing this.  One colleague and TBR blogger Ann Williams began her reading by moving her laptop and chair to her “Reading Corner” where the students could see a part of their classroom library as she read aloud.

What a wonderful way to make her readers feel at home!

All teachers that I spoke with this week shared their strong beliefs that reading aloud to children is essential. I was not surprised to hear the thought that was put into deciding not just what books to read, but how to read them. Teachers considered many options and used a variety of strategies to share books with their students in this new environment. And their students responded with smiles, nods and excitement.  What a wonderful way to start the year!

Leave a Reply