The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Shared Reading

Shared reading is an instructional practice that is typically used in the early primary grades. The teachers uses a Big Book (an enlarged version of a story or other text) to read aloud as the students read along. The class will eventually join in with the reading as they become more familiar with the story. This allows the teacher to model correct reading practices and also helps students build their confidence in their own reading.

But shared reading can be done at the intermediate levels and beyond as well. However, I modify the practice to better accommodate the needs and interests of my students. Instead of a Big Book, I provide each student a copy of the text. I will read aloud and have them read along. This is different from a typical read aloud in that a) each student has a copy of the book and b) I pause frequently to model reading comprehension strategies, such as predicting, asking questions, and making connections.

Most of the shared reading I have done this year has been combined with guided reading as I work with small groups. (This is different from regular guided reading in that regular sessions involve the students reading as I observe. I often combine these practices by reading to the students and then having them read on their own.) But today I decided I wanted to do at least one whole-class shared reading experience, using one of my all-time favourite stories: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.

This is a novel that I read to my class each year. We started today, first watching a book trailer before I gave each student his or her copy. Then I read the first chapter aloud as the class read along with me. I will continue to do the reading aloud, but I will be encouraging students to read on their own, to reread, and even to read ahead. As we finish each chapter, we will stop to talk about what happened and make prediction about what will happen next. I am hoping that my class will enjoy this story as much as they have the other stories I’ve read to them this year!


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