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

Approaches to reading

The three key approaches to teaching reading differ in terms of the challenges, what the teacher does, and what the student does.

The approach

The text

The teacher

The student

Reading to students

Often whole class

  • is drawn from a wide range of texts too difficult for students to read by themselves
  • promotes and fosters a love of books and reading
  • supports students to develop vocabulary and knowledge of book language and text forms
  • engages students in conversations about texts
  • actively listens to create meaning by making connections between what they know already and what they hear
  • engages in conversation and thinks critically about the text

Shared reading

May be in small groups or whole class

  • is initially too difficult for students to read by themselves
  • models how an expert reader negotiates and makes sense of the text
  • creates opportunities to draw students into the reading, pausing from time to time to involve students in conversations about the text
  • during subsequent readings, focuses on the specific learning needs of the students
  • rereads the text, often for different purposes
  • behaves like a reader – actively listening and reading along once they are familiar with the text
  • engages in conversation and thinks critically about the text
  • reads the big book or small book version independently and with increasing fluency after repeated readings by the teacher

Guided reading

In small groups

  • is at a level of difficulty where students, after a careful introduction, are likely to make no more than one error in every 10 words on the first reading
  • uses knowledge of their students (from assessment data and ongoing monitoring) and knowledge of literacy learning to group students
  • scaffolds students to read the text themselves
  • helps students to develop a reading processing system that they can also apply when they read independently
  • draws on their literacy and world knowledge, along with sources of information in the text, to read the text for themselves
  • engages in conversation and thinks critically about what they have read
  • rereads the text several times with increasing independence and fluency

Updated on: 20 Nov 2014