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Literacy Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Shared reading texts

Ready to Read shared reading texts provide opportunities for explicit instruction and joyful, lively reading experiences. They combine literary qualities and memorable language beyond what the students can access for themselves initially. The shared reading texts provide a range of text types, including narrative, non-fiction, and poetry.

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You'll find Teacher support materials (TSM), audio files and digital copies of the text where available.

Shared books are specifically written to expose students to text features such as rhyme and alliteration can be used to build students’ word knowledge and phonological awareness. Patterns within the text (such as rhyme and repetition) provide support for later on when students come to read the material independently.

All students, and especially those with less experience of books, need the support of a range of approaches that scaffold learning to read. Both the Ready to Read poem cards and big books have high-interest topics and storylines that invite active participation such as prediction, problem solving, and unison responses. Because the texts are not levelled, teachers can choose a text based on the needs of their students – one that the students can enjoy and respond to, join in reading, and read with increasing fluency and expression during subsequent readings. Through many repeated readings, the students are able to read the accompanying little book independently and fluently.

The Ready to Read big books are accompanied by smaller versions of the same text. These are available for students to read and enjoy after they have become very familiar with the big book during many shared reading sessions, perhaps in an independent reading book box .

A snapshot from practice

Dragons! Dragons! Dragons!

The Ready to Read big book Dragons! Dragons! Dragons! provides a rich shared reading experience for all my students but once I’ve shared it with the whole class, I use it differently with different groups. This year when I introduced it to the class, I started by getting my students to look at the illustrations to find clues about the story. We had a lot of discussion about dragons. That helped them to make connections with their knowledge of dragons from fairy tales. Then we looked at the differences between the cover page, where the dragons look happy, and the title page, where they look really gloomy. The students suggested the dragons might be lonely.

As I read the story (with a little bit of joining in from the students), they quickly worked out that the dragons were lonely because they didn’t know how to make friends. On the “Library” page, I read them the book titles and we talked about which of the books that the dragons were reading might be the most helpful. There was some great critical thinking going on. This text also linked really well to our term topic about building a safe and happy classroom and making friends.

After the initial readings, I’ve used this book with new entrants to build familiarity with “book language” (phrases such as “four fiery dragons” and “Run for your lives!”) and reinforce concepts about print, such as left-to-right reading and one-to-one matching. They love to practise reading the big book with a pointer.

With my students who are on the way with guided reading, I often use this book as a way of exploring narrative structure. I help the students summarise the events in the story (the initial problem, the attempts to fix the problem, and the successful ending). Then it’s something I can prompt them to draw on when they are reading other books, such as (at Blue) Skipper’s Happy Tail or I Want to Fly.

Once the students are thoroughly familiar with the shared text, it’s usually not long before they’re keen to try reading the small book version by themselves.

Michelle, teacher, new entrants and year 1

Updated on: 09 Oct 2017




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