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Book Review: In Defense of Read-Aloud: Sustaining Best Practice

Title: In Defense of Read-Aloud: Sustaining Best Practice, by Steven L. Layne. Stenhouse, 2015. 


Description:  Kids don’t need to be enslaved to electronics for enriched learning, and amidst reform, program reconstruction, and budgetary issues, many schools are trimming away anything that could be considered entertainment. 


As Dr. Steven L. Layne shows in “In Defense of Read-Aloud: Sustaining Best Practice”, the research shows that certain types of entertaining activities such as reading to students aloud provide sustainable gains in their comprehension and retention. 


Over the course of five substantial chapters, Layne shares both new and old insights into the benefits of reading aloud to students. 


The second chapter, “Establishing a Successful Read-Aloud Time”, calls for educators to maintain a productive quality to the pacing, tone, and setting of read-aloud time to establish healthy expectations while optimizing learning potential. From consistency to best practices, Layne creates a solid case for structuring the activity around skill building as much as enjoyment. 


In chapter four, “The Art of Reading Aloud”, readers get a taste for more of the testimonials and bits of advice that fellow educators and experts share within the book, and Layne compiles them with a crisp sense of usefulness. 


Whether it be the beauty of detailed visualizations when a student imagines key scenes, or the ability to find emotion within the text, by the end of this book, you’ll be advocating for every literacy educator you know to participate in regular read-aloud time.


Bottom Line:  At 200 pages, most educators who read this title will be convinced in the ability to sustain imagination while inspiring future reading in students through read-aloud time. 


About the Author: Dr. Steven L. Layne is a veteran educator and the director of the Master of Education in Literacy program at Judson University, where he also serves as a professor. Wearing a variety of hats, Layne has dabbled in keynote speeches and other professional development work while authoring several other titles on literacy education. Through various conferences and tours, Layne has expanded his research and pedagogy across the country, with a list of accolades to boot. 


How to Purchase:  This title is available on the Stenhouse website for $21 in print form. 



Article by Jason Papallo, EducationWorld Social Media Editor

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