Radio Reading: Definition & Instruction

Instructor: Christine Serva

Christine has an M.A. in American Studies. She is an instructional designer, educator, and writer with a particular interest in the social sciences and American studies.

In this lesson, you'll learn how radio reading works and how a teacher might use this strategy in the classroom. Find out the benefits of this approach for students doing the radio reading assignment and for their classmates.

Definition of Radio Reading

A teacher named Mr. Allen is trying out a new technique in his fifth grade class. He's excited to tell the students that this week they will receive radio reading assignments for the novel Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.

Radio reading is a strategy in which students are assigned a portion of the text ahead of time. They prepare their particular parts and can practice reading these portions silently and aloud themselves in advance.

Then when it's time for students to read aloud to the entire class, the students are expected to read the text with emphasis and tone that is appropriate to its meaning, like a radio announcer would do, hence the name of this type of reading.

Usually a smaller group of students would receive the assignment to do a radio reading on a certain day. It is up to the teacher whether the other students will have read the text prior to the radio reading or if this will be their first time hearing it.

A radio reading assignment typically also includes the expectation that students really know their text well, including its context and meanings. Mr. Allen may assign the student to come prepared with topics of discussion or questions about what he or she has read.

He may also choose to include a prop to give the students a sensation that they are really in the radio role. If desired, the presentation could be recorded and reviewed later to help students improve their skills for the next time.

Instruction in Radio Reading

Let's dig in more deeply to understand how the process of radio reading works.

Kelly is a fifth grader in Mr. Allen's class. We'll imagine that Kelly is assigned a portion of the book, Bridge to Terabithia. She would likely be a part of a smaller group of students giving readings for a particular day.

Mr. Allen gives the students instruction in how to read aloud with more feeling than they may have been doing in other forms of reading aloud in class. Instead of just reading out the words, they will be performing the words for their audience: the classroom. She will understand more about what she is reading and develop communication skills in the process.

Kelly is given the opportunity to practice at home and perhaps in her classroom as well. She can ask Mr. Allen about pronunciation and definitions of words in advance to practice them. She can learn more about the topics in her portion that she doesn't quite understand. She'll also come up with several questions for her classmates related to her assigned portion.

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