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Shared Reading the Heartbeat of the Reading Program

Shared Reading is a direct instructional component of a comprehensive literacy

program. Using enlarged texts enables teachers to explicitly teach reading skills
and strategies in whole-group or small-group settings. A safe environment for oral
reading is also established as all students read or chime in together.
Shared Reading enables teachers to
Explicitly demonstrates early strategies such as word-by-word matching
Builds a sense of story and the ability to predict
Creates a body of familiar texts that children can use for independent
reading and as resources for writing and word study
Provide opportunities for students to read a whole text (or parts of) in a
supported low-risk environment.
Demonstrate a variety of comprehension strategies (e.g. word-solving, fixup strategies, etc)
Explicitly teach think-alouds
Observe students reading behaviours and skills and note those requiring
further attention in guided reading
Make the reading process more visible
Support a less able reader to function as a reader with both peer and
teacher support
Introduce skills and strategies required for the grade level, but possibly
beyond the reach of some of the readers

Shared reading is an
important missing piece in
many reading programs [W]
hen teachers shift their
attention to give more time to
shared reading, guided practice
is more meaningful and
efficient, and teachers dont
have to work so hard in small
reading groups. Also, and this
is very important, teaching
reading becomes much more
Routman, 2003

Planning for Shared Reading

Taken at the beginning of the Reading Block
Whole class (or could be small group)
Short, sharp, snappy! (10 -15 minutes max)


Choose carefully as not all texts are suitable for shared reading. (some more
suitable as Guided or Read To)
Consider the following criteria:
musical, rhythmical, magical text
rich language to develop vocabulary
degree of student interest and enjoyment, especially to facilitate personal
Challenge to the students to extend their world
Accessibility of language and context
Inclusion of diverse or unique points of view (especially for older grades)

Through developing
familiarity with the text,
each rereading becomes
easier and leaves more
cognitive energy for the
related aspects of
analyzing, synthesizing and
extending knowledge.
Allen 2002

Implementing Shared Reading

Day 1 Comprehension focus



Teacher models good reading (very important)

Ask Teacher Questions - Why do you think? (evaluation)
- Do you think? (reaction)
- How do you know? (Inference)
Student-Generated Questions invite questions from students
Put one student into role and have the other students interview or ask
questions. (lots of thinking going on)
Make connections also very important
What does this story make you think about?
Have you ever?
Can you think of a time when?



gurgle shoogle

Day 2 Vocabulary focus


Take interesting words talk about them and put on charts

Read the book again with children joining in where they can.
Words that

Categorize the words onto other charts

Happy Words; Noisy Words; Quiet words; Words that Move; Antonyms;
Synonyms; Homonyms etc


Day 3 Print Conventions



Take a spread (one double page) and focus on the print conventions
in the text. Discuss them how do they sound? What does your
voice do?
Read the text focusing on the print conventions as they read.
Older students focus on reading in chunks.

Day 4 Spelling in Context

Read text all the way through then take a one page spread and focus on one or two
spelling patterns, rhymes, blends, suffixes, prefixes, base words etc


shoogle shake

Day 5 Response focus

Oral Language
retelling using drama
- creative clusters (start telling the story then change to another group or student
who adds to the story).
Written Language - focus on an aspect e.g. a character or setting
The important thing is for the student to make personal connections to the story
Text to Self ; Text to Text or Text to World.
Students do a picture (goes on the wall and eventually into a Big Book for the
Then do some writing to go with the picture that is published by the teacher.

Shared Reading Lesson Planner

Text selected: _________________________________________________________
Purpose /focus for using this text:__________________________________________
When text will be used: __________________________________________________

Day 1: Introduce the Text (Questioning)

Possible questions for understanding:

Day 2: Vocabulary

WOW words selected from text:

Day 3: Print Conventions

What print or text features does this lend itself to?


Day 4: Spelling in Context

What are the spelling features I could demonstrate?

Day 5: Extending the Text (Making Connections)

What are some ways students can respond to this text (drama, illustrate a character)?

Shared Reading Lesson Planner

Text selected:

The Gingerbread Baby

Purpose /focus for using this text: Sequencing Text

When text will be used:

Language Arts


Social Studies

Day 1: Introduce the Text (Prediction and Questioning)

What do you think the story will be about?
Do you know another story that may be like this one?
Who has made gingerbread cookies with their Mom?
What is special about gingerbread cookies?
Tell me some things that you think might happen to the gingerbread baby. What makes you
think that?
Read up to where Matti vows to catch the Gingerbread Baby. Draw a T-chart on a sheet of
paper. To make column headings paste two gingerbread cookies one marked Yes and one
labeled No. Then poll the students to determine how many think Matti will catch the
Gingerbread Baby and how many predict Matti will not catch him. Write the corresponding
numbers on the chart. Finish reading the story, pausing mid-way to poll the students again and
ask them to share their thinking. If students do not mention the clues in the borders, draw
their attention to them. At the end of the story compare students predictions with the actual
story. Did anyone guess Mattis plan?
Possible questions for understanding:

1. Why do you think Matti and his mother wanted to make a Gingerbread Boy?

2. Why was Matti surprised when the Gingerbread Baby jumped out of the oven?


3. Why did the Gingerbread Baby run away from Matti ? (Evaluative)
4. What made everyone chase the Gingerbread Baby? (Inference)
5. How did Matti know the Gingerbread Baby had run into the Gingerbread
House? (Inference)
6. Why do you think Matti keeps his plan a secret? (Evaluative)
7. What does this story make you think of? (Personal Response)
8. What parts of this story do you think make it fictional?
Role-Play the Characters Choose a student to role-play a character (Matti, the
Gingerbread Baby, or one of the animal characters).
Other students get to
interview the character. Try to encourage more in-depth questions go beyond the
literal type questions. For example ask the Gingerbread Baby Why did you run away
from Matti? What did you think when you saw the Gingerbread House in the
woods? Did you know it was a trap? Get the students into the habit of asking
questions of the characters or the author.
If students are reluctant to ask questions, make several construction paper

gingerbread cookies and label with various question words (who, when, what, why
,how, where etc). Place the cookies facedown in a cookie tin. Have the student draw
a cookie and ask a story-related question using the word on his cookie.
Day 2: Vocabulary

WOW words selected from text: pranced, tumbled, rumbled, wheeled, somersaulted,

bouncing, twisted, backflipped, crept, tweaked

Phrases: meddling with my milk, couldnt help himself, licked his chops, feeling
smug, caught a whiff, to take a peek, peppy and proud, finally met his match
Adjectives: delicious small, tasty gingerbread, porky snout, brash baby.

Day 3: Print Conventions

(What print or text features does this lend itself to?)

1. Text features (Song phrases or chants)

2. Punctuation:Ellipses, exclamation marks, quotation marks, periods,
apostrophes, commas

Day 4: Spelling in Context (What are the spelling features I could demonstrate?)

1. Syllables: Gingerbread,
2. Suffix ed: (measured, tumbled, twisted,pranced ) Look at dropping the /e/ before
adding /ed/
3. Discuss the root words.
4. Vowel combinations // (measured, bread) //(me) /ee/ (peek) /ea/ (reached) /ai/
5. Comparisons of vowel patterns ea (measure, reach) ai (said, braid)

Day 5: Extending the Text (Making Connections)

1. Discuss the plot. Talk about the problem and the solution?
2. Talk about the characters. Share something about them. Build a vocabulary to describe
character, behaviour, appearance and personality of the characters.
3. Dramatize the story.
4. Students could design a Gingerbread Baby of their own. They could write a description
of him and explain what he did. Publish the descriptions and add to students
gingerbread babies. Make into a class book.
5. Describe the setting and build a vocabulary for it.
6. Discuss the message of the story.
7. Readers Theatre.