Teaching Strategy

Shared Reading

Responding to the Read-Aloud Text
Grade Level


During shared reading, learners observe experts reading with fluency and expression while following along or otherwise engaging with the text. This strategy should focus on a specific instructional element (or mini lesson) that improves targeted reading comprehension skills while promoting the joy of reading.


During reading


Shared reading establishes an enjoyable and supportive context for reading. It allows all students to participate as readers in a classroom with diverse literacy needs. Shared reading also provides struggling readers with necessary support, enhances sight word knowledge and builds reading fluency. Shared reading gradually releases responsibility for individual reading to the student.


  1. Select a Perspectives text or passage to read aloud. Display it in a visible location.
  2. Read the text aloud or enlist an expert reader. Only one person at a time actually reads aloud, but everyone should be silently reading along.
  3. Encourage and support student comprehension with prompts and modeling of Think Aloud strategies that are rooted in the text. For example, you should prompt students to
    • answer questions about who, what, where, when, why and how;
    • retell the story with details;
    • determine the text's main topic or central message;
    • describe characters, the setting and major events;
    • identify who is telling the story; and
    • explain how the illustrations provide information about what is happening next.
  4. After reading and ensuring all students understand the story and its elements, possible shared reading activities include:
    • Take a stand: Present a position related to the text. Ask the children to indicate if they agree or disagree with the position by showing thumbs up or thumbs down.
    • Support what you know: After the reading, students take a stand about a topic or theme from the text, then cite evidence from the text to support that stance. Younger children can draw their responses.
    • Story dramatization: Students reenact all or part of a story. They share a story, plan the scenes, cast the characters, dramatize and evaluate.

English language learners

Shared reading provides opportunities for English language learners to hear fluent reading. It can be done in English or in students’ native language(s). Be sure English language learners understand the difference between shared reading and Think Aloud. Shared reading should explicitly model expression, fluency and the joy of reading. Think Aloud should support comprehension. Clearly state the objective before modeling either strategy.

The following adaptations can be made for English language learners:

  • Pair English language learners with a partner at least one proficiency level higher.
  • Offer sufficient wait-time during each pause. (At least 10 seconds is recommended.)
  • Scaffold the shared reading with the appropriate structure and methods (e.g., turn and talk, teacher Think Aloud, etc.).
  • Plan for several, varied rereads (e.g., choral reading, reading with a partner, silent reading).

Connection to anti-bias education

Shared reading contributes to a positive learning community. The strategy allows students to get to know each other as individuals regardless of in-group and out-group identities. Shared reading ensures that all students feel successful by providing support to the entire group.

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