Using Shared Reading to Explore Text Complexity Dr. Barbara Honchell University of North Carolina Wilmington 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 text. 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 strategy. 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 familiar Then a new text is introduced or another reading is revisited for in-depth rereading and discussion 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 Abbreviations Common letter clusters Contractions Silent letters Teaching for complexity of sentence or text structure in Shared Reading Punctuation 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 engagement 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 complexity 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!