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At What Age Should Interactive Read Alouds Stop?

At what age should interactive read alouds stop?  What grade level should you stop doing read alouds?  The answer and reasons why inside!

Who doesn’t love interactive read alouds? Even as an adult I still read books aloud. I’m an admitted picture bookaholic, yes. But what about the rest of the world? At what age or grade level should interactive read alouds stop?

While I was doing my student teaching, I split my days between a Kindergarten/1st grade split class and fifth grade. Really different, right? So were my cooperating teachers. Especially in what they thought about interactive read alouds.

The Kindergarten/1st grade teacher: NEVER read books aloud to her students. You read that right, she never once did a read aloud. With Kindergarteners and first graders. She was sick once or twice and I made some executive decisions in regards to our plans for the day *wink wink*

The fifth grade teacher: used interactive read alouds A LOT. For almost every subject. Now, the bookaholic in me had absolutely NO problem with that whatsoever, but she was one of the few upper elementary teachers who did interactive read alouds.

So the question remains: At what age should interactive read alouds stop?

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but why 1 1

But why?

  1. Audiobooks and Podcasts
  2. Research Says
  3. Engagement
  4. Efficiency

Audiobooks and Podcasts

Have you listened to an audiobook? Maybe a podcast? Or you’re subscribed to 10 on Apple Podcasts? No? Then, I’m sure you’ve listened to talk radio. Or you’ve listened to your mom tell the same story for the millionth time (and details are being increasingly exaggerated).

No matter how you’ve consumed audio content, you got drawn in by the voice and the story. Audiobooks and podcasts just happen to be the latest iteration of the oral tradition, which is probably one of the oldest human traditions.

In other words? Listening to stories will never die regardless of age.

At what age should interactive read alouds stop?  What grade level should you stop doing read alouds?  NEVER.  The popularity of podcasts and audiobooks and research prove it, and the engagement and efficiency they bring make them indispensable at every grade level and audience.


Who am I? I’m just a man who loves picture books and reading them out loud. If you’ve ever taught young readers, it’s almost immediately evident which kids have been read to at home and which haven’t. In my experience, those kids are the ones who advance in reading far faster than those who have not been read to.

What’s crazier? My bilingual students who have been read to in their first language also learn how to read far faster in their second language. That is, my English dominant students who have been read to at home in English learn how to read in Spanish faster than my Spanish dominant students who have not been read to in Spanish at home.

Don’t take my word for it though. Check this out:

sound learning infographic Picturebookbrain


Reading out loud to kids no matter what age is engaging. Reading books aloud, whether chapter books or picture books, draws people in. The illustrations and photos in picture books pull you into a completely different place. I’ve seen wordless books like A Stone For Sascha tell stories so complex that middle school students spent a half an hour debating about the ending and the theme. Even picture books give kids a lot to discuss.

Emma Rodero, a professor at Pompeu Fabra University, said:

“Audio is one of the most intimate forms of media because you are constantly building your own images of the story in your mind and you’re creating your own production.”


Do you want to teach your students about the history of voting rights in the United States? Grab Lillian’s Right to Vote. Want to teach figurative language forms like metaphor, simile, or personification? Bam! Owl Moon, it is! Trying to teach comprehension strategies with chapter books? Boom! The Wild Robot. The best part about reading aloud? It creates common background knowledge that you can come back to and use in different contexts and subject areas throughout the year. It’s why I created my Mentor Text Mania series that covers ALL of the CCSS literature and informational text standards between all of the books and multiple standards per book. If you’re a bilingual teacher, I also have my Mentor Text and Dictado Mania series that has dictados planned for each book!

As an adult, can’t find time to read at home? Download an audiobook from Amazon or Audible. All of a sudden your commute is your time to “read” a book from your favorite author. Doing the dishes or cleaning the house turns into learning time.

Most times when we can’t read or watch something, we can still listen to audio. Reading books aloud or having books read aloud to you is just plain efficient.

At what age should interactive read alouds stop?  What grade level should you stop doing read alouds?  The answer with reasons, research and examples why inside!

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Hey there! I’m Josh from Picture Book Brain here to share only the best literature for you to use with your students. If you are looking for a specific book, use the search bar below to check my archives. Glad you’re here, and glad to help you!

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