Read-Aloud: to use a CD, or not to use a CD

22 Nov

I’ve been waffling back and forth between doing the reading myself in read-alouds, and using audiobooks.  There are advantages and disadvantages to each method.

Reading Yourself

  • You can read at your own pace, slowing down in parts you want to emphasize or have students notice.
  • You can repeat important lines or passages easily.
  • You don’t have technology problems with finding the right chapter or place in the book.
  • You can roam the room with you book as you read-aloud, vs. staying close to the technology.


  • With an audiobook playing, you can monitor the class more closely since you’re not actively reading.  Are students engaged?  Do they seem to understand the story?
  • Audiobooks do a great job of incorporating appropriate accents and voices.  If you’re not dramatically inclined, they add some theater.

Currently, I’ve opted to read it myself.  I find that I pay better attention when I’m reading, vs. having a CD play.  I notice more in my read-aloud books every time I read one, and reading it out-loud gives me more flexibility to change what I’m teaching on-the-go.  Plus, I found I was chained to the iPod when I tried to use an audiobook. I had to be right next to the speaker, ready to stop in the correct spot.

In the end, there’s probably not one right answer.  If I were reading a book where different character voices were very important to the story, I might go back to an audiobook. By the Great Horn Spoon, for example, a great gold-rush text by Sid Fleishman, has characters from all over the globe.  I might use an audiobook for that one.  Changing it up can add some spice and variety to the read-aloud.

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