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Using the "Shared Reading" Format



Last updated Tuesday, March 19, 2002

The following outline highlights key ingredients for a successful "shared reading" experience. In the context of our group read-aloud sessions, "sharing" does not mean having each student "take turns" in reading the book aloud (see Step 6 below). Rather, the adult reader shares the enjoyment of reading by facing the picture book towards the children and allowing them to follow along as the adult reads the text in a smooth, expressive, and enthusiastic manner.

Step 1: Introduce the Story

 •  Discuss the book cover's title and illustration.
 •  Invite predictions about the story.
 •  Point out and explain the author and illustrator.

Step 2: Read the Story

 •  Be dramatic, showing obvious delight in both the storyline and the language.
 •  If appropriate and convenient, pause and invite predictions.
 •  Ask brief questions to measure comprehension and spur curiosity.

Step 3: Conclude the Reading Period

 •  Allow time and space for spontaneous reaction and comments.
 •  Ask about parts the children enjoyed most or least.
 •  Ask questions about the story line, e.g. why certain events took place.
 •  Ask questions relating the story to the children, e.g. have they experienced something similar, or how would they have handles things differently than the story's characters.

Step 4: Conduct Additional After-Reading Activities

 •  Ask the children to retell the story in their own words.
 •  If appropriate, focus on repetitive elements, such as a phrase, chant or chorus, and ask children to chime in as you re-read that element in the story.
 •  Point to the words in the text to demonstrate the conventions of print.

Step 5: Re-read the Story

 •  If time permits, re-read the book.
 •  Usually, the first reading emphasizes meaning and enjoyment.
 •  Subsequent readings aim to (1) increase participation, (2) teach about book characteristics and print conventions, (3) teach reading strategies, (4) help develop a sight vocabulary of high frequency words, and (5) teach phonics.
 •  Due to the limited time, you may want to cover one of these areas during the first reading of the book.

Step 6: Allow Independent Reading

 •  If time permits, allow children to browse or read book themselves.
 •  Holding a book and reading it themselves often gives children a feeling of being "members of the club of readers."

Step 7: Conduct Follow-Up Activities

 •  Craft-making, play-acting, and letter writing are some useful activities for reinforcing the "learning" aspect of reading.