Shared reading is my absolute favorite thing right now. I’ve done shared reading in the past where I put a piece of text up on the document camera and read it and we talk about it, but there wasn’t any real engagement. So I decided I wanted the text in my kids’ hands!
I started doing some diggin (no pun intended) on Scholastic.com looking for cheap books. Holes jumped out at me right away and it was only $3.50! It is a bit above most of my students’ reading level, so it was perfect for shared reading. I had all my parents order their kids a copy online and we got reading!
Before we started we made a lapbook with some background info, some graphic organizers and some maps. We also included little printable books to take notes on all the characters that I got from this blog.
Now, I’m a reader, and I HATE when people tell me I can’t keep reading, especially if I’m hooked. I just want to keep going! So I rarely do that with my kids, but this one time I am doing it: they are not allowed to read ahead. (Lots of them have seen the movie and have an idea about what’s going to happen anyway, but I’m still keeping up the suspense this way.) To ensure they are following along I made each of them a colored notecard with their “Holes name” on it: first name and then first name backward. So it might say Jordan Nadroj or Asher Rehsa (many of which sound vaguely Indian.) They have to follow along with this notecard to prevent inadvertent skimming ahead while I read. It also helps to save their place when we stop to talk about something, which we do frequently. do a ton of annotating in my class (like on every piece of paper I hand them.) We write question marks when we’re confused, put stars next to important parts, underline when we find the answer to a comprehension question. I’m really focusing on vocabulary right now, so we’re doing a lot of finding our spelling words in our books, noticing when words have prefixes and suffixes and how that changes the word’s meaning, using a dictionary to look up words we can’t figure out.
In general, we do a ton of annotating in my class (like on every piece of paper I hand them.) We write question marks when we’re confused, put stars next to important parts, underline when we find the answer to a comprehension question. I’m really focusing on vocabulary right now, so we’re doing a lot of finding our spelling words in this book, noticing when words have prefixes and suffixes and how that changes the word’s meaning, and using a dictionary to look up words we can’t figure out. We are also adding small doodles at the beginning of every chapter to help us remember what happened in that chapter, like a visual summary.
We talk about how writing in a book, one that belongs to you, is truly a magical thing. I write in all my personal books, but I usually don’t tell them lest I find doodles in all my class library books. I underline sentences I like mostly. The kids are only allowed to write in pencil, so it can be erased (I write in different colors of pen: orange for vocab, green for figurative language, purple for examples of good/bad character.) Everything the kids write must be for a purpose. They can doodle if it helps them learn about the plot better. They can circle and underline words that they choose as long as they have a reason. I should NEVER see meaningless scribbles in their books. So far I haven’t had a problem.
I also send my kiddos with the para in small groups to discuss comprehension questions and vocabulary words. I got these from Super Teacher Worksheets. This is what they look like.
This kind of teaching for me is very authentic. I’m not reading from a script. Most of the time I don’t even prep to see what we are about to read that day, I just start reading. And when I come across a difficult word or an interesting sentence or scene, we stop and talk about it. If the kids make a connection and we tangent for a few minutes, that’s fine! The beauty of shared reading is that I am modeling how I read for my students. They can follow along with my thought process, how I work through difficult words, connections I make, things I wonder about as I read.
And the very best part of this particular shared reading is how engaged and excited the kids are about it. They groan and shout NO when I have to stop. When they are chitchatting (which they often are) I just start reading and they all stop talking immediately and begin following along. They are truly getting lost in the book and that is so rewarding for me to see.
What books have you used for shared reading or read aloud with your class?