Shared Reading: Everything You Need to Know

A program during which a teacher recites a passage from a material (sentence by sentence) while the students read along from their own copies of the material or a general chart for the class. It’s part of a suite of practices the instructor uses to support the teaching of reading. Initially, the focus of shared reading remains on enjoyment and meaning. Once comprehension is established, the instructor can reread the text to demonstrate reading strategies clearly and engage students in problem-solving using structure, meaning, and visual information.

Shared reading generally involves the entire class and the instructor reading an enlarged text that’s beyond the level learners can read by themselves. Big books are conventionally one of the common shared reading text types as the illustrations and texts are enlarged for student viewing. The objective of the enlarged text is to help learners follow the words as the instructor reads. Initially, the instructor might do much of the reading. However, as learners become more familiar with the text, they’ll assume more control, especially when rhyme and rhythm are present or at repetitive sections. Learners are anticipated to be actively engaged while the instructor is reading. Shared reading gives opportunities for the instructor to:

  •         Read fluently, with confidence and expression
  •         Expand vocabulary
  •         Demonstrate comprehension and decoding strategies
  •         Promote enjoyment and pleasure with texts
  •         Teach phonics and phonemic awareness
  •         Exhibit how to use structure, meaning, and visual information cues to help reading

Shared reading can support the teaching of the following elements of reading:

  •         Early experiences with print
  •         Oral language
  •         Phonics
  •         Phonological awareness
  •         Comprehension and fluency
  •         Vocabulary

During shared reading, learners are expected to:

  •         Engage in the story’s reading
  •         Activate prior knowledge and establish connections to the story that’ll help them with meaning
  •         Join in activities associated with the story
  •         Observe and concentrate on the modeling performed by the teacher
  •         Participate in the creation of shared reading graphic organizers and anchor charts for future reference
  •         Develop a comprehension of the reciprocity between shared writing and reading
  •         Become more independent with every rereading of the story

Teaching points for shared reading change based on the complexity of the learners’ reading levels and grade level. As learners move up in grade level, they carry more experience with print.

Five teaching points appropriate for pre-school to first-grade-aged learners include:

  •         Directionality
  •         One-to-one matching
  •         Making predictions
  •         Differences between words and letters
  •         Modeling how fluent and phrased reading sounds with expression
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