Shared Reading for School and Home

This semester in READ 6309, students examined components of a strong reading program. As part of their work, they were required to contribute to this blog.

By I. Martinez

 Shared reading involves the teacher reading a text while the students read along silently. This reading practice supports students’ comprehension, reading fluency and language acquisition. While read-alouds and shared reading both give the students the freedom to activate their schema, imagination, and curiosity, shared reading adds text into the equation to help the students link the spoken word to the written word.

During the shared reading, the teacher’s reading enables the students to hear the natural cadence of a particular poem, or the accentuation of certain phrases of spoken language that carry deeper meaning. For example, the manner in which a person’s pitch rises when asking a question, or the way words are elongated when a character is sad or confessing a transgression, or the rapid rhythm of an apologetic character. The interaction between teacher, student and text creates a classroom atmosphere that is conducive to learning, and equally as important, nurtures the love of reading. As a teacher, I believe that shared reading is crucial for all students, especially second language learners and students with special needs. Shared reading should be done everyday and several times a day, but of course, this cannot always be accomplished. So, what about the time students have at home? After all, reading should not stop at 3:30 p.m. I believe the shared reading experience can be extended into the after-school hours with the help of technology.

photoIf your students are lucky enough to have an iPad or iPhone at home, they can continue to enjoy reading while hearing the text read to them by their teacher. The app Book Creator is a wonderful way to give students this experience. This app allows for text, graphics, video and recordings to be neatly bundled and presented in book form. The classroom teacher can produce multiple books with graphics and his/her recordings of the text being read and then email it to his/her students or the students’ parents to be read in iBooks. Better yet, several teachers can collaborate and create a multitude of texts to be shared universally within a grade level. And, it could also be used for adding additional information, graphics and video to a chapter from a content area text that has proven to be difficult for the students to understand. Additionally, the app can be used as a vehicle for writing a language experience story as a whole class activity, or the students themselves can write their own books and share them with their classmates. Using this iPad app might just do the trick to encourage the most reticent student into producing a masterpiece “What I Did During My Summer Vacation” story infused with rich language, photos, and video. I think this app would work well with elementary through middle school students.

For the upper middle school students and high school students who enjoy an even greater level of sophistication, the mac with OS X Lion Server offers classroom teachers with the ability to produce quality audio podcasts with PowerPoint slides or picture sharp video podcasts with the teacher or classmate as the “podcast movie star,” and background text. The teachers can use GarageBand for the audio portion, PowerPoint or Keynote for slides, iPhoto for graphics, and the iSight camera and iMovie ’11 for the video portion. This in turn can be uploaded to itunes and shared with everyone, or just one classroom. Imagine a deaf education teacher signing a story while the text appears beside him/her so deaf students can simultaneously see the signing and the text, or imagine how a second language, recent immigrant student may be able to finally conquer the English language because of that extra exposure and repetition a podcast can provide. During the school day, the teacher who practices shared reading creates the positive dynamics and enthusiasm necessary for successful reading, and then extends his/her “reach” into the home with the use of technology.

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