Big Books for Shared Reading and Read-Alouds
The advantages of big books for children are many. Big books are great for both shared reading, when children read along, and for read-alouds, when the teacher simply reads to the class while the class listens. Big books for kindergarten and above tend to focus on the former, while big books for preschool, pre-K, and earlier focus on the latter.
Big books for shared reading need to be close to the reading level of the students in the group. The best big books for shared reading in kindergarten, for example, will be at guided reading level D and below. A big book in an easily accessible level range can help teachers bridge the gap between weak readers and strong readers, shoring up the confidence of those students for whom it is relatively easy, and imparting new skills to prepare less-skilled students for guided reading and independent reading.
What are big books? Well, they’re different things to different people! Big books, for kids, are a departure from the norm—they’re used to seeing small books, so these large-scale versions will enthrall them out of sheer novelty. Big books, for teachers, are an easy way to encourage literacy by capturing attention and helping set a visible example of good reading habits.
Characteristics of big books are that they are generally picture books with bright, colorful photos and illustrations that tend to catch kids’ attention, and large, extra-visible text. They may be science big books or traditional tale big books or any genre in between. The main thing is that they be BIG—larger than life!
When you are looking to buy big books online, it is important to consider a few factors. Children’s big books online generally have the guided reading level available, so start there—at your students’ reading level—first. Big book stories tend to work best when they feature topics that children love—farms, funny characters, transportation, and animals are all big winners. And finally big books for kindergarten with lesson plans may help teachers segue these common kid interests into their pre-existing curriculum.
The best big books for kindergarten and above will be the ones that have clear, easy-to-read text, content that draws student attention, and provides great jumping-off points for teaching! Enjoy your search!