Season 8, Episode 2

The joy of reading aloud, with Molly Ness

Many educators understand the value of reading aloud to students, but may not yet have unlocked the full power of these tools as an intentional, consistent, and joyful instructional approach. In this episode, we welcome Molly Ness, author of the recent book, Read Alouds for All Learners: A Comprehensive Plan for Every Subject, Every Day, Grades PreK–8. Molly—a former classroom teacher who also spent 16 years as a teacher educator—gives us an overview of the research on read-alouds, detailing the myriad benefits (linguistic, socioemotional, motivational, and physiological) they provide students. Molly also lays out strategies for effective read-alouds, instructions on how to properly plan and implement them, and specific examples of the pre-work process for texts like Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems.

Meet our guest(s):

Molly Ness, Ph.D.

Molly Ness is a reading researcher, former classroom teacher, and teacher educator. She earned a doctorate in reading education at the University of Virginia and spent 16 years as an associate professor at Fordham University. The author of five books and numerous articles, Molly serves on the board of directors for the International Literacy Association. She is the founder of the Coalition for Literacy Equity. In 2022, she joined Learning Ally as Vice President of Academic Content.

Meet our host, Susan Lambert

Susan Lambert is the Chief Academic Officer of Elementary Humanities at Amplify, and the host of Science of Reading: The Podcast. Her career has been focused on creating high-quality learning environments using evidence-based practices. Susan is a mom of four, a grandma of four, a world traveler, and a collector of stories.

As the host of Science of Reading: The Podcast, Susan explores the increasing body of scientific research around how reading is best taught. As a former classroom teacher, administrator, and curriculum developer, Susan is dedicated to turning theory into best practices that educators can put right to use in the classroom, and to showcasing national models of reading instruction excellence.


“A read-aloud is an interactive language experience…where a teacher reads something, elicits a conversation from students. Those conversational turns are so essential in [a] read-aloud. It's a shared literacy experience around a text.” —Molly Ness
“What I don't think teachers understand, and I say this having been one of those teachers, is the intentionality that needs to happen in planning the read-aloud.” —Molly Ness
“When we add things like think-alouds and being explicit in our vocabulary, we are building [students’] metacognition and [their] ability to understand text.” —Molly Ness
“We all have those gaps in knowledge and life experiences, regardless of where we come from and regardless of our zip code and regardless of our personal or family situation.” —Molly Ness