Like many elementary teachers, I read aloud to my class on a daily basis. Sometimes, if they're persistent enough, and I'm feeling giving, I'll even read a little extra. This request usually happens when I end the day's chapters on a cliff hanger.
Which I do. A lot. Hey, it's fun!
Anyway, one of the things that was a tug-of-war decision for me was using our read aloud as instructional, or using it for pure enjoyment. I know that there are schools of thought that argue for each side, and both are very valid. I've found that we do snack time during read aloud, giving the kids a few minutes to chat at the beginning before I start reading.
Once I start reading? They're usually hooked. X Our Daily 5 CAFE board is right by my read aloud chair, which makes a great place for modeling some of the strategies that are on the board. This helps with instruction in a very organic, natural way. Most, if not all of our read alouds happen this way - me reading, using the ever-growing board of strategies, and the kids munching away until a cliff hanger leaves them slack jawed.
Something I started this year, though, is a project or activity AFTER read aloud. This is a great place to bring in some of the Thinking Routines that we use in the district- my favorite for read aloud being chalk talk.
In this case, prior to our reading unit on character study, we did a mini character study using our read aloud and a chalk talk. The kids went from poster to poster "talking" with their "chalk." We did this a few times with the main characters in the story. Then each group was given a poster to analyze, and they had to create a character sketch of just that character. I think it was kind of fun, and so did the kids!