Using Shared Reading to Teach Phonics and Fluency in Pre

Using Shared Reading to
Explore Text Complexity
Dr. Barbara Honchell
University of North Carolina
Defining Shared Reading
Shared Reading is a collaborative literacy
learning activity based on the research of
Don Holdaway (1979). Shared reading in
school emulates and builds from the
student’s experiences with other kinds of
reading. The students in a group “share” the
reading of the story with the teacher by using
enlarged text (Parkes, 2000).
More about Shared Reading
In Shared Reading the text is enlarged using a big book,
chart, or projected text so the text is visible to the
students at all times.
The text is selected to meet the needs of the students,
enabling them to actively participate in the reading of the
And more
The teacher reads with the students, who
interact with the text throughout the shared
reading and respond to the teacher’s comments
and questions.
The teacher reads and stops at planned
instructional points in the text to model his
thinking and/or discuss a reading skill or
Shared Reading with all ages
Shared Reading is often thought of as a
teaching method for younger students but can
be used effectively across grade levels.
It is the text, the teaching
purpose, and the social
nature of the learning that
matters NOT the age of
the student.
General design for a Shared
Reading lesson
Generally begins with rereading of something
Then a new text is introduced or another
reading is revisited for in-depth rereading and
Finally there is an explicit mini-lesson either
preplanned based on previous in-depth
reading or as a result of that day’s lesson
A brief example
Video Clip from Sharon Taberski
Understanding text complexity
during Shared Reading
Text can be complex in three ways:
Graphophonically Complex
Syntactically Complex
Letters, letter combinations, syllables
Sentence & text structure
Semantically Complex
Passage meaning & vocabulary
Teaching for complexity of letters
and sounds in Shared Reading
Prefixes, suffixes, roots
Multi-syllable words
Common letter clusters
Silent letters
Teaching for complexity of sentence
or text structure in Shared Reading
Parts of text
“—”, :, …
Glossary, index,
table of contents
Charts and graphs
Book language
Teaching for complexity of passage
meaning in Shared Reading
Building schema
Supporting purposeful and active
Connecting previous reading to new
Creating visual images
Thinking deeply
Checking for understanding
Determining importance of information
Examples of a Shared Reading
lessons for each kind of complexity
Weather poster – phonological complexity
Pinduli and Island of the Blue Dolphins syntactic complexity
Orville and Wilbur Wright – semantic
Shared Reading is a tool not
an answer
Understanding and working with text complexity
needs to be taught, modeled, and explored
through gradual release of responsibility from
the teacher to the students. We cannot expect
our students to work independently with many
examples of complex text without teaching
them how to do so!
Let’s Explore Text!

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