Shared Reading is an instructional approach that models strategies for reading text. The teacher has the primary responsibility for reading the text while focusing the studentsí attention to the text and the reading strategies that are being modeled. Students see the text and interact with the teacher in response to the reading strategies being modeled and practiced. All of the students have access to the text at the same time leading to thinking aloud, exposure to different points of view and perspectives, and activating prior knowledge. Teachers select text for Shared Reading that typically has enlarged print. The text is challenging, and provides an enjoyable reading experience and a variety of genres. Multiple readings of the same text provide models for fluent reading. Shared Reading provides for exploration of format and models of how authors write. Shared Reading fosters love of reading and partnerships, allows all students to be risk-takers, creating a safe environment for students to feel free to actively participate while leading to enjoyment of text as a community of readers.
The shared reading model was developed by Holdaway (1979). It builds from the research that indicates that storybook reading is a critically important factor in young children's reading development (Wells, 1986). The storybook reading done by parents in a home setting is particularly effective (Strickland & Taylor, 1989). However, in school, in most cases, a teacher reads to a group of children rather than to a single child. The shared reading model allows a group of children to experience many of the benefits that are part of storybook reading done for one or two children at home (Ferreiro & Teberosky, 1982; Schickendanz, 1978).
The shared reading model often uses oversized books (referred to as big books) with enlarged print and illustrations. As the teacher reads the book aloud, all of the children who are being read to can see and appreciate the print and illustrations.
In the shared reading model there are multiple readings of the books over several days. Throughout, children are actively involved in the reading (Yaden, 1988). The teacher may pause in the reading and ask for predictions as to what will happen next. Because many of the books include predictable text, the children often chime in with a word or phrase. Groups of children or individual children might volunteer or be invited to read parts of the story. Through repeated readings and the predictable text, children become familiar with word forms and begin to recognize words and phrases (Bridge, Winograd, & Haley, 1983; Pikulski & Kellner, 1992).
Purposes for Rereading
The repeated readings of the same story serve various purposes. The first reading is for enjoyment; the second may focus on building and extending comprehension of the selection; a third might focus attention on the interesting language and vocabulary; a fourth might focus on decoding, using the words in the selection as a starting point for teaching word identification skills (Yaden, 1989).
Benefits of Shared Reading:
Rich, authentic, interesting literature can be used, even in the earliest phases of a reading program, with children whose word-identification skills would not otherwise allow them access to this quality literature.
Each reading of a selection provides opportunities for the teacher to model reading for the children.
Opportunities for concept and language expansion exist that would not be possible if instruction relied only on selections that students could read independently.
Awareness of the functions of print, familiarity with language patterns, and word-recognition skills grow as children interact several times with the same selection.
Individual needs of students can be more adequately met. Accelerated readers are challenged by the interesting, natural language of selections. Because of the support offered by the teacher, students who are more slowly acquiring reading skills experience success.
Example of Shared Reading
Select a text which has a teaching point that meets the needs of specific students. Make sure that all students can see the enlarged text.
Discuss with the students the topic to tap their prior knowledge about this topic.
State the purpose of the lesson and why the book was selected.
Invite students to predict the text from the cover, title, and illustrations.
Give a short stimulating introduction. When reading to emergent readers, do a picture walk through the book during the introduction.
Read the text as naturally as possible with few stops. Focus on meaning. Encourage students to join in as they are able. Model realistic reactions to the text.
Encourage students to predict as they read, drawing on their understanding of the text and their knowledge of the structure of language.
Introduce the use of prompts to help the students predict the text and confirm their predictions.
(Meaning: Does it make sense? ; Language Structure: Does it sound right?; Visual information: Does it look right?)
"Brown bear, brown bear, what do you see?"
"I see a red bird looking at m_."
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, Bill Martin.
The students should be lead back to the text to problem solve unknown words. Clear
and consistent prompting helps the students to be able to transfer strategies from one
text to another. As the students gain cross-checking skills, more than one prompt can be linked together to assist the reader.
What do you see in the picture to help you?
What is happening in the story/text?
What would sound right here?
Do we say it that way?
Letís try again and think what would come next?
What does it start with?
Reread and look at the first letter of the word.
Do you know another word that looks like that?
Encourage students to talk about the text. Help them notice the text features.
Reread the text several times. With each rereading, students will be able to join in, as the text becomes more familiar. Sometimes these additional readings can include clapping, singing, chanting, and dramatic role-playing.
Help students to make predictions using front/back cover, introduces book, title, author, and illustrator, then reads to students for enjoyment
Reread the book with the children, focus their attention on mew vocabulary
Reread the book with the children, focus on print conventions
Reread the book with the children, focus on print conventions
Reread and respond (responses can be oral, written, or visual, depending on the shared reading book)
What Students are doing during Shared Reading
Listening responsively to stories and other texts read aloud
Asking and answering relevant questions and make contributions in group activities
Recognizing that print represents spoken language and conveys meaning
Understanding that print moves from left-to-right, top-to-bottom on a page
Understanding that written words are separated by spaces
Knowing the difference between letters and words
Recognizing how readers use punctuation/capitalization to comprehend
Understanding that spoken words are represented in written language by specific sequences of letters
Recognizing that different parts of a book such as cover, title page, and tables of contents offer information
Producing rhyming words and distinguish rhyming words form non-rhyming words
Understanding that written words are composted of letters that represent sounds
Learning and apply letter-sound correspondences to begin to read
Using prior knowledge to anticipate meaning and make sense of texts
Active listeners to stories being read aloud
Participating actively when predictable and patterned text are read aloud
Describing how illustration contribute to the text
Distinguishing fiction from nonfiction
Understanding literary terms by distinguishing the roles of author and illustrator
What should be done after a shared reading session? Ideally, teachers should create some method of displaying titles of the shared reading books they have used in their classroom. A "Books We Have Read Together" chart, bookworm, book train or other motivating classroom display can be expanded as the year progresses. Children enjoy adding to the list and can refer to the list when they wish to select a familiar book to read. Small copies of the big books should be available to the children for independent or partner reading. The class might also make "book reproductions" or innovations using the same theme or sentence/language pattern of the shared book. These class books provide additional independent reading material for children in the classroom. Using a taped version of the story along with copies of the book provide good reading practice at the Read-Along center.
Shared Reading at the Emergent Level
Concepts of Print
Concepts about print include awareness that: print carries messages; there are conventions of print such as directionality (left to right, top to bottom), differences between letters and words, distinctions between upper and lower case, punctuation; and books have some common characteristics (e.g. author, title, front/back).
Why are concepts of print important to teach:
Concepts about print are fundamental understandings that support reading acquisition.
Concepts of print include awareness that:
print carries a message
there is a one to one correspondence between words read and printed text
there are conventions of print such as directionality (left to right, top to bottom), differences between letters and words, distinctions between upper and lower case, punctuation; and
books have some common characteristics (e.g. author, title, front/back).
Classroom practices that support the acquisition of concepts of print for emergent readers:
Have class helpers search for distinguishing features of the front of books as they clean up the class library and arrange them properly in book display racks.
Model directionality and one to one matching by pointing to words while using enlarged text in a big book, pocket chart, poem or song chart. With repeated readings the language of the text is learned and the children can practice following along or eventually match the words they say with the print on the page independently. They may practice by pointing to words with their finger or any number of homemade pointers (chopsticks, dowels with pom poms on the ends, rubber witchy fingers, etc.)
Leave multiple pieces of familiar text (songs, poems, rhymes, etc.) posted in the room at a child's eye level to be available for students to "read around the room" independently.
Write a brief, familiar rhyme or poem on individual word cards and assemble them on a pocket chart. Construct and reconstruct the text on the pocket chart with the children developing an awareness of directionality, one to one matching of the print to spoken words, spacing conventions, punctuation, etc.
Have children search familiar text to locate an upper or lowercase letter, a known word, punctuation, etc. Highlighting tape, sticky notes, wikki sticks and children's fingers can be used to isolate and locate a variety of conventions of print in a piece of familiar text.
Use interactive writing to provide opportunities for constructing text with children. Model, share and support the writing task for emergent writers. As the teacher "thinks aloud" throughout the task children have the opportunity to hear about a variety of print concepts and practice using them. (e.g. Should we put our first word at the top or the bottom? Will the first letter go on the right or the left? Should the M in Mark be upper or lowercase? What goes at the end of our sentence?)
Use magnetic letters, word titles or even name cards to complete sorts emphasizing similarities and differences between words and letters. (e.g. Put all the uppercase letters in this pile. Find all the words that have the letter B.)
Create a pocket chart activity using a few known sight words, children's name cards and periods, exclamation marks and question marks. Practice reading simple sentences like the examples below. Students can develop an understanding of the importance of punctuation as it alters the reading of such simply constructed texts as: