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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.