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elementary teacher reading a text along with students around a table

Choral Reading

Choral reading is reading aloud in unison with a whole class or group of students. Choral reading helps build students’ fluency, self-confidence, and motivation. Because students are reading aloud together, students who may ordinarily feel self-conscious or nervous about reading aloud have built-in support.

Key Information



When To Use This Strategy

During reading

Appropriate Group Size

With small groups
Whole class setting

Why use choral reading?

  • It can provide less skilled readers the opportunity to practice and receive support before being required to read on their own.
  • It provides a model for fluent reading as students listen.
  • It helps improve the ability to read sight words.

How to use choral reading

  1. Choose a book or passage that works well for reading aloud as a group:
    • Patterned or predictable (for beginning readers)
    • Not too long
    • At the independent reading level of most students
  2. Provide each student a copy of the text so they may follow along. (Note: You may wish to use an overhead projector or place students at a computer monitor with the text on the screen)
  3. Read the passage or story aloud and model fluent reading for the students.
  4. Ask the students to use a marker or finger to follow along with the text as they read.
  5. Reread the passage and have all students in the group read the story or passage aloud in unison.

Choral reading: grade 1

Go inside Carmen Tisdale’s first grade classroom in Columbia, South Carolina to observe how Carmen models fluent expressive reading using text cues as her students follow the text silently. Then, the kids read aloud together. Joanne Meier, our research director, introduces the strategy and reminds teachers to be sure to carefully match the text to your students’ reading level and to check in to be sure the kids are understanding what they are reading aloud.

Choral reading: grade 3

A third grade small group engages in a choral reading activity. There are 4 students in this demonstration and they are reading the text, A Dream Schedule. (From the What Works Clearinghouse practice guide: Foundational skills to support reading for understanding in kindergarten through 3rd grade.)

Collect resources

Language Arts

This planning checklist for a choral reading lesson uses the poem “One Sister for Sale” by Shel Silverstein. See example ›

This PDF includes dozens of poems for shared, choral, paired, and echo reading. See example ›

The website below offers teachers several poetry options conducive to the Choral Reading strategy along with some interesting tips on reading and language development. See example › (opens in a new window)

The example of choral reading found on this site uses the children’s book James and the Giant Peach. See example › (opens in a new window)


This lesson plan includes examples of choral reading activities that correspond to introductory science concepts. See example › (opens in a new window)

Social Studies

This website includes a script for the choral reading of the children’s book Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain. See example › (opens in a new window)

Differentiated instruction

For second language learners, students of varying reading skill, and younger learners

  • Teachers may wish to pair students of varying abilities together and assign each student a different section of the passage to read.

See the research that supports this strategy

Hasbrouck, J. (2006). For Students Who Are Not Yet Fluent, Silent Reading Is Not the Best Use of Classroom Time. American Educator, Summer 2006, 30(2).

Texas Reading Initiative. (2007). Fluency: Instructional Guidelines and Student Activities.

Children’s books to use with this strategy

Topics this strategy is especially helpful for