Purpose of Shared Reading
As with all components of balanced literacy instruction, shared reading provides rich opportunities for students to discover the pleasures of reading. Because students gather around the teacher in groups, a sense of community is established and students feel encouraged and confident to read along in enthusiastic environment. Also, young readers are introduced to different genres and authors. A variety of reading strategies are demonstrated during shared reading, dependent upon what is appropriate for the context of the story and the genre.
The Basics of Shared Reading
- A shared reading session may be conducted in many ways, depending on the needs of the students and the teaching objectives determined by the teacher.
- Shared reading with strong teacher support and guided reading with less teacher support are two ways the teacher can give students practice and immediate feedback, as they develop the skills and strategies necessary for successful decoding and comprehension.
The following is a description of the activities you might observe or plan for during a shared reading experience with children:
- The teacher orients the children to the text to help them develop schema for the topic.
- The teacher reads the text using a pointer to help the children track the print while reading.
- During the reading, the teacher invites the children into text discussion through the use of “I wonder” statements.
- Over several days, the teacher and the children reread the text. Each time the children notice new features of the text and participate more actively in the reading.
- Over time the children become independent readers of the text.
How Shared Reading Supports the Learning Process
Shared reading allows teachers to explicitly model the strategies and skills of proficient readers, including reading with expression and fluency. This also allows teachers the opportunities to demonstrate the ways in which the language of a book can be different than the spoken language. Shared Reading in school emulates and builds from the child’s experiences with bedtime stories at home, or provides the opportunity for students who do not have them. Shared Reading in school emulates and builds from the child’s experiences with bedtime stories at home, or provides the opportunity for students who do not have them. This strategy also allows for a lot of discussion before, during and after the text.
Shared Reading is implemented in the comprehension component of the BLP model. The most important understanding for children to gain from shared reading is that stories are meaningful. Thus first interactions to occur during shared reading have to do with the story itself. How do we relate to the meaning of stories? We relate because of how the story related to our own lives. Text to self connections (Keene & Zimmerman, 1996) are often first to occur to the reader.