When students participate in or share the reading of a book or other text under the direction and supervision of a teacher, it is referred to as shared reading and is an interactive reading experience. While students are generally taught reading by this approach, it can be difficult to gauge their attention. Hence, it becomes crucial for teachers and educators to look for innovative ways for the shared reading approach. That’s where shared reading activities benefit the teacher and the learner.
Shared reading activities are basically curated to create a fun learning environment while also keeping in mind the mission of increasing the child’s reading capabilities. As books are helpful, shared reading activities help teachers utilize these books in a creative manner. Most activities help engage students in a comprehensive learning approach thereby creating an urge to learn deeply. Shared reading activities enhance the feeling of classroom community thereby offering an opportunity for kids to interact, challenge, and compete with others.
Shared reading: Promoting enjoyable literacy experiences?
Reading aloud together can help develop a variety of young language abilities, including vocabulary, according to research. This study’s findings have led to a lot of emphasis being placed on the value of caregivers and professionals reading to young children in order to enhance language development and school readiness.
Another significant research was conducted to understand the effects of teacher talk before, during, and after shared reading sessions. The research aimed to understand if shared reading benefited children’s vocabulary. In this research, 90 small group sessions of teacher-guided shared reading sessions were conducted for 18 weeks. It was found that there was a difference between teacher questioning before and after the shared reading session. The findings suggest that the engagement of children in shared reading leads to their active participation. Children also gain meaningful insights thereby promoting literacy growth. Hence, it can be said that shared reading is an effective way to build vocabulary and comprehension skills.
Fun shared reading activities for children
Shared reading is a good way to inculcate reading skills in students. However, reading alone can be boring at times. That’s when activities help students divert their minds into creativity. Check these shared reading activities to offer a fun learning environment to students.
1. That’s my Character!
Shared reading is a helpful approach to engaging children in reading. It also helps them develop social and communication skills as they get to interact with other students. This activity focuses on concentration and focus-building skills.
- To conduct this activity, take any storybook or a reading text which has dialogues and characters assigned to it
- Now, according to the characters, make different chits and write the character’s name on each chit
- Once done, ask students to pick a chit and read the character’s name
- After this, students need to play the role of that specific character and read the respective dialogue of the character
- Similarly, all students have to follow their characters and continue the reading in a shared format
Such an activity promotes concentration skills and also helps students get into the personality of the character. It also helps them naturally change their voice modulation according to the character. For example, a student may sound like a royal human if he/she is given the character of a king/queen.
2. Read and Draw
Shared reading often promotes imagination and creativity in students. As students also communicate with other members, they learn to accept different perspectives and opinions. This activity focuses on imagination-building skills.
- To conduct this activity, take any poem into account
- Ask students to read the poem in front of everyone.
- Each student should get an equal opportunity to read it.
- Once they are done reading, ask them to draw different features of the poem simply through their imagination.
- For example, if the poem is about a monsoon, they can draw clouds, a rainbow or show raindrops on a leaf
- The activity ends when every student is done creating their illustrations
- You can also give them an opportunity to express their illustration
Drawing offers a creative space and also benefits mental health. Such activity is helpful to engage students in something more than just reading. As they get to do something different, they enjoy the process of shared reading while also nurturing their imagination skills.
3. Let the Drama Begin
Presenting an interesting activity that includes acting and reading like never before! This activity focuses on adding a creative edge to the shared reading sessions.
- To conduct this activity, ask students to take any story which has characters
- Allow them the freedom to choose the story on their own
- Give them 2 days and divide the students into groups of 5 students each
- Once done, ask them to have their dialogues written on a paper while acting
- Each group gets 5 minutes to present their act while also reading the text from the paper
- The activity ends when all the groups are done reading and acting
This is a helpful activity to engage students in playing the role of characters and understanding each statement narrated by that specific character. It not only gives them the knowledge of reading but also offers an in-depth understanding of the text. The activity focuses on knowledge-building and enhancing creativity.
4. Tell Your Story
Shared reading sessions help students connect with each other and build social skills. This activity also helps children work with other students to tell stories in a shared format.
- To conduct this activity, divide the students into groups of two members each
- Now, ask students to draw anything random on a piece of paper
- Each student gets a different paper to present his/her imagination and creativity skills
- Once done, allow students 5 to 10 minutes to construct a story around what they both have drawn
- After this, ask students to narrate the stories by equally distributing the speaking time between both participants
- The activity ends when each group is done with the storytelling session
The combination of reading with brainstorming is a helpful option to keep children engaged in something fresh. Such an activity aims to promote greater understanding between students. It also helps students decide the entire plot, characters, and theme of the story thereby giving a creative edge to it.
5. Choose the Book
As shared reading generally happens with bigger books to understand the text, it is always a good idea to offer variety. This activity is more about communication skills while also enhancing reading in difficult genres.
- To conduct this activity, ask students to get different shared reading books according to their choices
- Now, each student gets an opportunity to present his/her book in front of the group
- Ask students to describe their books in front of everyone
- They can talk about the basic characters, and a story or how the book is interesting for the session
- Once done, let the instructor decide on the book for the shared reading session
- The activity goes on until each student’s book is select at least once
As students learn to decide their choice for books, they also learn to describe its features in this activity. Moreover, children get an opportunity to listen to other students and read books with completely different stories or plots.
6. Echo Read With Me
Echo Reading is a popular concept when teachers want to teach the usage and pronunciation of sight words. The activity is a combination of active listening and effective reading.
- To conduct this activity, you would need different genres in books – story books, novels, poems, and a fable or something unique.
- Now, the teacher starts reading one line and asks a random student to repeat it
- Here, the strategy is to change the tone, style, and voice modulation depending on the context of the reading material
- For example, when teachers read a poem in a rhythmic voice, students try to imitate it in the session
- The activity ends when each student is given a fair opportunity to imitate and learn
The Echo Reading activity aims to promote a deeper sense of reading by analyzing the type and context of different texts. It also helps children analyze the importance of shifting voice and tone as per the genre.
7. Spot the Right Word
While children acquire reading skills through shared reading, it is also important for them to understand the usage and application of different words. This activity tries to help children recognize high-frequency and sight words easily.
- To conduct this activity, give the same book to all students
- Now the teacher instructor gives different questions for students to find answers to it from the same book or a particular page
- For example, if the book has a character defined by her skin color, hair, and dress; then such questions can be framed around this topic
- The teacher or the instructor can ask students to spot 5 different features of the character as soon as possible
- Similarly, different questions can be framed for children to encourage reading and also spot the word
The activity focuses on testing the understanding level of students. They also get an opportunity for decoding unfamiliar words and understanding their meaning thereby leading to an open discussion. Such activity is helpful to enhance vocabulary and grammar.
A research-based method of instruction is shared reading. The interaction and meaning-making that take place when a kid and adult look at or read a book together are the main points of discussion during shared reading. Regardless of age, shared reading is beneficial for all emerging readers and can be done alone or in small groups.
Additionally, teachers and instructors can also opt for shared reading games thereby offering a diversified learning platform to students. Different reading websites and applications can also be taken into account to enhance reading skills. Just like shared reading, teachers can also opt for guided reading for specific reading needs. It must be noted that every child learns at a different pace and speed in any reading approach.
1. C. Noble, G. Sala, M. Peter, J. Lingwood, C. Rowland, F. Gobet, J. Pine. The impact of shared book reading on children’s language skills: A meta-analysis, Educational Research Review, 28 (2019), Article 100290, 10.1016/j.edurev.2019.100290
2. Gonzalez, J. E., Pollard-Durodola, S., Simmons, D. C., Taylor, A. B., Davis, M. J., Fogarty, M., & Simmons, L. (2014). Enhancing preschool children’s vocabulary: Effects of teacher talk before, during and after shared reading. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 29(2), 214-226. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecresq.2013.11.001