Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Power of Shared Reading

The power of shared reading

by Jenny McFerin
K-2 University Trainer

We live in data driven schools. Over time, we teachers have become very good at collecting and analyzing data. Once we know what students need, devising a plan and executing the plan can be a challenge. In a recent action research experience, a group of literacy coaches in training were working together with the second grade team at Prairie Lincoln Elementary (Southwestern City Schools, Columbus, Ohio). Our group of professionals included classroom teachers, literacy coaches, literacy coaches in training, the building principal, and a university trainer. Together, we were learning about the students in a low progress reading group. As we analyzed each student's strengths and needs it became clear that all students needed further support in detecting errors and self correcting. 

We knew what the children needed, now we had to decide how to teach them. We chose to use shared reading to demonstrate how to notice errors and fix them while reading. Shared reading is a context where the teacher is processing the text while students are following along. It is important that the children can clearly see the text; big books or enlarged poems are some examples. 

The teacher demonstrated what to do when something in the reading did not match. The teacher demonstrated what to do to fix the error. Then, the teacher and the children shared the reading, stopping and talking through thinking when they encountered errors. As the students took on the reading, we began to see small shifts in their readings; they were stopping when words did not match, they were rereading to fix the errors!

Consider the power in explicit demonstration through shared reading when making a plan for teaching children how to notice and fix errors

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