Sunday, February 8, 2015

Shared Reading - Are You Reading to Your Students?

There is a good body of research and literature that indicates the importance of shared reading with students/children.  One of the best resources for information is the Center for Literacy & Disabilities Studies at UNC- Chapel Hill (http://www.med.unc.edu/ahs/clds).  
Below are a few key points Karen Erickson makes about it: 
  • Shared reading is usually done with beginning readers, as a way to instill a love of reading, develop language and literacy skills, and provide access to a wide variety of literature.
  • When teachers think out loud during shared reading, they model for students how to deal with unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts, text features and structures.  Teachers need to model strategies in order for students to learn to use them.
  • For students in special education who are just developing - or have not developed - literacy skills, it is an essential classroom tool for increasing background knowledge, providing access to texts, and increasing important language skills.
  • Shared reading is not about students learning to answer questions; it is about developing a love for reading and beginning to use emergent reading skills.
  • Students should eventually be turning pages, “reading” repeated lines, making comments, and even asking questions.
When I work with students with complex communication needs, I plan to read the same book for the week (5 days), with a different language based purpose each day.  Karen Erickson talks about building a love of books, as setting purposes like knowing when to turn the page, following the words on the page, pointing out a part the student likes or doesn’t like.  In addition to exposing kids to reading of a variety of fun books, I’m usually looking to build language skills like categorizing, describing, comparing, sequencing, retelling.
Click on the image below to download a simple shared reading guide, or click on this link HERE to download the full handout (for free) from my TPT store.


For the rest of February, I will be posting an example each week of a before and after reading purpose activity with selected children’s books. Stay tuned.

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