Shared reading/Class reading

Topic/Subject area: Methodological approaches

Author: Jennifer L. Wilson, University of South Carolina

Shared Reading / Class Reading

Shared reading is when both the teacher and students have a text in front of them; while the teacher reads the text, the students follow along silently (Holdaway, 1979). In secondary school, shared reading occurs with whole novels or short stories, recorded books, drama, poetry, etc. The students have a copy of the text either individually in front of them or it is shown on a projector. Shared reading offers students the support of visually seeing the text as well as seeing and then hearing difficult or new words spoken in context (Allen, 2000).

Shared reading is NOT round-robin reading. With round-robin reading, each student in the class takes a portion of the text to be read aloud. During round-robin reading, students may be hearing words mispronounced and/or skipped. This does not provide them effective models of reading or speaking English. In addition, during round-robin reading many students are not following along with the reading of the text, instead they are jumping ahead and practicing their section (Allen, 2000; Taberski, 2000).

However, it is not just the reading that is important when using shared reading in the secondary classroom. The discussions that occur before, during, and after the reading are essential. Some teachers use shared reading in small groups as well as whole class. Using small groups helps to facilitate discussion about the text in a space that students feel confident taking risks. During these small group shared reading times, teachers may choose to reread a text with a particular focus in mind or offer an extension text that might further challenge students (Cappellini, 2005).

When choosing texts for shared reading, teachers often look to provide a variety of fiction and non-fiction, print and non-print texts. This offers the students the opportunity to experience a variety of reading situations and extends the vocabulary and language skills modeled. Teachers also need to consider the students. When a whole unit is created around a lengthy novel and the students hate the book, the benefits from shared reading become greatly reduce. Choosing the right novel requires teachers to know their students. Interest surveys and sharing short stories before choosing the novel, provide teachers with a gauge of the type of texts and content that are interesting to students (Allen, 2000).

Shared reading offers teachers a chance to model effective reading and language strategies in context. It can also be a strategy to introduce more challenging texts (e.g., reading the first chapter of a novel that will be assigned to students as independent reading) or used to build background knowledge on content that students will see in more challenging texts (e.g., using shared reading with a poem about the Holocaust before students independently read Night). Shared reading can make texts that are enjoyable and hallenging, accessible to students (Allen, 2000; Cappellini, 2005).


Allen, J. (2000). Yellow Brick Roads: Shared and Guided Paths to Independent Reading 4-12. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Cappellini, . (2005). Balancing Reading and Language Learning: A resource for Teaching
English Language Learners, K-5
. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Holdaway, D. (1979). The Foundations of Literacy. Gosford, NSW, Australia: Ashton

Taberski, S. (2000). On Solid Ground: Strategies for Teaching Reading, K-3. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.


Publisert 6. mai 2020 12:42 - Sist endret 13. mai 2020 14:32