French read aloud activities are an excellent way to build both language skills and content knowledge in a secondary language classroom. By using a French read aloud with strategically selected tasks afterwards, teachers can help their students develop important French reading skills such as inference, synthesis, and analysis. Whether you are reading a French novel or completing a French reading comprehension activity, read-alouds can be a lot of fun!
Here are five different French read aloud strategies that work with secondary classes.
Strategy #1: Stopped readings with comprehension questions in between sections
Stop periodically during the reading to ask your students comprehension questions. This will help them stay engaged with the text and check for understanding. For lower level students, you can provide them with a list of possible answers to choose from. As they become more proficient, you can move to open-ended questions. Using differentiated reading questions can be really helpful!
Strategy #2: Think-alouds to model problem solving strategies
As you are reading the text aloud, stop periodically to model different problem solving strategies that your students can use. For example, if you come across an unfamiliar word, you can demonstrate how to use context clues to infer its meaning. This strategy is especially helpful for scaffolding instruction for lower level learners who haven’t had much practice with French reading.
Strategy #3: Choral readings with assigned roles
With this strategy, students work together to read the text aloud in unison. To make it more challenging, you can assign specific roles such as “leader,” “punctuation reader,” or “tone setter.” This is a great way to get your students working together and practicing their pronunciation at the same time.
You can do this as a whole class or you can have smaller groups work with different texts. I’ve found that students who are afraid to read aloud have more confidence when they read with a group. If you have hesitant readers, give this a try!
Strategy #4: Divide the text into specific chunks.
Sometimes I’ll have students read aloud either a sentence, a paragraph, or until a certain line number. All of these serve as a way to help them understand how a text is organized. When we start writing essays or stories, they’ve had practice identifying sentences and paragraphs, so it makes it a little easier to use the correct organization in writing.
When I started doing this, I was pretty surprised at the number of middle schoolers who struggled to identify paragraphs. It can be really easy to assume students know things because we know they have been taught. This is a great way to help them learn to identify sentences and paragraphs, whether they are the reader or they listen to classmates read.
Strategy #5 : Reader’s Theater
This French read aloud activity is particularly fun when you are reading a narrative with a lot of dialogue. All students should read the text on their own first, either at home or in class. Then, chosen students will read and perform the text in front of the class.
I like this French read aloud activity instead of the round-robin or popcorn reading, because it is less stressful for students. In addition, because students will read the text a few times, the comprehension is often greater than when reading a text once while worrying if their turn to read was coming!
There are many different ways that you can use a French read aloud in your secondary classroom. By being strategic in your selection of activities afterwards, you can help your students develop important French reading skills such as inference, synthesis, and analysis. Try out these five French read aloud strategies with your students and see how they respond!
Bonne lecture !