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I fondly remember singing songs and learning simple poetry with my students during our morning meeting time when I taught Kindergarten. I would write the words on chart paper and display it so we could all see it. Down by the Bay by Raffi was one of our favorites.
I still have fun with my own kiddos at home, displaying songs or my own poetry for us to experience together.
And it’s as simple as that. Shared reading is such a powerful shared experience with text. Today, we’re going to explore the why’s and how’s of shared reading together!
What is Shared Reading?
Shared reading is an interactive reading experience in which all your learners can see and interact with the text. It is a whole group reading experience.
You might use a song or poem on a chart, a big book, a printed article, the morning message, language experience stories, a basal story, or a trade book. But again, one of the most important keys for shared reading is that all learners have access to the shared text.
- allows all learners to hear/interact with ON GRADE LEVEL text, no matter their own reading level
- introduces learners to all different kinds of genres/text structures
- provides support to your struggling readers and beginning readers
- gives you a platform to model things like fluency, comprehension strategies, and word strategies
- builds success and confidence for all readers
- helps readers learn about book & print awareness
- introduces before reading, during reading, and after reading strategies they can apply to their own reading
Share Reading Ideas
The same text can be used for several days, which gives you lots of opportunities to build skills and strategies with your learners. Here are a few before reading, during reading, and after reading ideas. You can even grab these as a printable below!
Before Reading: (apply what you can to your kind of text)
- Read the title and look at the picture on the front cover. Make predictions based on what you read/see. What will the book most likely be about?
- Read the author’s name. If it’s a familiar author, talk about what you might expect to find in the text based off of other books you’ve read by that author.
- Look at the back cover and discuss the picture (if applicable).
- Look at the pictures in the book (picture walk), talking about each one. What’s happening in the picture? How might a certain character feel based on his/her facial expression in the picture? (You might go all the way through or stop just before the very end so as not to give away the ending.)
- For the first reading, read the text through mostly for enjoyment. Be sure to read at a pace that makes it easy for learners to follow along with their own copy.
- Model fluency skills, like reading with expression and phrasing.
- Plan to model word attack strategies aloud. For example, if there’s a dad in the picture, but the word on the page says Papa, find Papa together and talk about how you know it doesn’t say dad. Be strategic with this. Overuse can interrupt the flow of the lesson and comprehension.
- Pause at times for brief comprehension discussions and student input, such as, “We predicted that Julie was angry on this page when we did our picture walk. Were we right?” Again, be strategic with this.
- Ask open-ended questions, focusing on comprehension and critical thinking skills. Questions might sound like, “How were our predictions before reading correct/incorrect?” or “How did we change our predictions as we read?”
- Re-read the same text on other days, practicing fluent reading. Echo read, choral read, or teacher reads a page/learners read a page. (This is not the time to call on individual readers to read aloud.)
- Focus on a particular comprehension strategy or word strategy that fits the text.
- Depending on the text, have learners respond to the text through drawing/writing. (Example: “Do you think you’d be friends in real life with a character’s name?”)
- Record yourself/the class reading the text aloud and place it at a listening center.
- After reading for several days, put the text in a place where learners can revisit it (like a center or a special corner.)
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