Shared reading is an important part of the reading cycle for building independent and successful readers. By definition, shared reading is an instructional approach in which the teacher explicitly models the strategies and skills of proficient readers.
It is usual for educators to undertake part of their reading strategy instruction through a combination of whole-class teaching, guided reading groups and one-on-one instruction. Whatever the approach selected, educators need to prioritise which reading strategies will be taught so that the instruction is focused on the essential skills needed to progress students’ independence.
What sorts of books are good to use during shared reading?
Select books with plenty of discussion points. Shared reading is an ideal time to use non-fiction texts. Books that feature a variety of concepts, text types, visual literacy and language features are also great to use and will spark conversation amongst the children. Digital literacy texts encourage students to use their visual literacy skills and engage with extras like videos and audio.
Should you use read-alouds as part of your literacy instruction?
Read-alouds should be part of every school day and not just in English or literacy lessons. It is essential that students hear fluent and expressive reading of quality fiction and non-fiction texts and that educators use read-alouds to build vocabulary and comprehension. (Teale & Yokota, 2000).
Reading to and with the whole class affords students an opportunity to engage with texts that may be beyond their reading level but at their cognitive level. Some students have a higher level of listening comprehension than reading comprehension and the opportunity to absorb an author’s message without being limited by single-word reading difficulties may encourage fuller engagement.
Excerpts taken from Bayetto, A. (2012). Read Record Respond. South Melbourne, Vic.: Oxford University Press.