Shared Reading

Friday, August 16, 2013

     This is a screenshot description from our SIP plan about shared reading at Hiawatha.  It calls for 15 minutes of daily shared reading experiences that use grade level text to close read.

     Shared reading was created by Don Holdaway in 1979 to recreate the storybook experience that kids get while reading with their parents at bedtime.  In the primary classroom, shared reading is often done with big books so that all students can see the text and participate in the reading.  Children often chime in when readings are repeated.  It can be done with whole group, as well as small groups.  Shared reading gives the students a safe environment to practice reading with behaviors of proficient readers.  The text is always supposed to be visible to the students, and with SMART Boards is now often shown in digital books.

     In shared reading experiences, the same text is often read for a number of days.  The first read is usually for enjoyment.  Subsequent reads can focus on chanting, predicting, vocabulary, echo reading, etc.  In the upper grades, the teacher should give a focus for reading, and then ask questions specific to that focus.  If you record a shared reading and share it, children will have a fluent model to listen to at another time.  One of the days, close reading is a good option to improve comprehension.

     Since we are following a guided reading model at Hiawatha, students are reading at their individual reading level most of the day.  The idea of shared reading came up as a way to expose children to grade level text in addition to their instructional level text.  The Common Core suggests that students need to move up levels of text complexity, and this is one way to increase their ability to do that.  The Common Core also suggests that students close read text, where they zoom in on small pieces of text and really "dig deep" for meaning.  Shared reading could give students an opportunity to do this, if they can hold the text in their hand while reading and possibly mark their thoughts as they read.

     In short, the 15 minutes of shared reading a day could look like a variety of things.  One bottom line is that all kids can SEE the text, with the best scenario of them having their own copy.  If you merge the two ideas of storybook reading and close reading, as our SIP plan does, there are many texts you can use.  Big books, poems, picture books, novels, short stories, articles, etc., somewhere within the grade level band.  Students could have the text on their computers, and if they use Preview they can mark the text on their screens.  If they use paper copies of text, they can mark their thinking using pencils or highlighters.

     We will be talking more about this as the year goes on, and examples and PD will follow!


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