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Shared reading is an instructional strategy used to teach decoding, fluency, concepts about print, comprehension, and vocabulary. It can be used at any grade level. It is called shared reading because both the teacher and reader can see the words of the text. Shared reading for primary grades uses books with big fonts and pictures so that readers can see the words and pictures.
Sometimes teachers give students copies of the books for shared reading sessions. Using shared books makes it easier for the teachers to understand the reading weaknesses as well as the attentiveness of readers. Shared reading books are effective to teach decoding, as the readers can easily understand the important words. To find the best books for shared reading, we have the top 10 books listed down for you with all their important specifications.
How is shared reading different from guided reading?
The main difference between shared reading and guided reading is that teachers put up the text so that the readers can see the words and read them. However, in guided reading, the focus is more on the readers listening and understanding the story. Some of the texts in shared reading are slightly above the reading level of primary-level readers.
Moreover, in guided reading, breaks can be taken in between to ask questions and discuss the text. In shared reading, there are more frequent pauses to talk about things and on important aspects such as fluency and decoding comprehension. Thus, the pace is just a bit slower in shared reading than in guided reading. It should be noted that both approaches have different benefits and limitations. Teachers and educators should first understand the student’s need to apply a specific reading approach.
Engaging books for shared reading
The shared reading books mentioned below are effective for improving reading and inhibiting new vocabulary. Moreover, these books contain illustrations and graphics that are appealing to students. As they are available online, educators and teachers can access them easily.
1. I Love You to the Moon and Back
Amelia Hepworth with illustrations by Tim Warnes brings a heartwarming story about a mamma bear and her cub and the time they spend together. It was the number one bestseller in the children’s bear book section. The story revolves around the beautiful bond between the mamma bear and her cub. It also showcases the beginnings of their day and the love and affection they have for each other.
The grammar, vocabulary, and rhythmic tone of the story speak wonders about it. The story is easy to understand and read which makes the reading quite attentive and intuitive. The young readers can read it on their own and understand the story with ease. The vocabulary enables them to learn and understand new words and improve their lexical knowledge.
2. The Leaf Thief
Alice Hanning’s, The Leaf Thief was the number 1 bestseller in Children’s Mouse and Rodent Books. This funny picture book narrates the story of a squirrel on the quest to find a missing leaf. It also teams up with fellow friends to help it. The pictures in the book are intriguing and vibrant, the story has beautifully captured the essence of the story.
It also throws evident light on the different changes that take place such as seasonal and the anxiety that comes along with them. It is a helpful buy for readers of all ages and is ideal for reading at home or in classrooms. The animals in the story offer a realistic look and an intimate approach to understanding their characters. The various characters offer the dynamic chance to experience different emotions and learning opportunities.
3. Pete the Cat and the Tip-Top Tree House
Pete the cat and the Tip-Top Tree House comes from the immensely loved book series, I can read, by James Dean and illustrator Kimberley Dean. This New York bestseller tells the fun and ecstatic adventurous story of Pete, the cat. The story focuses on Pete, the blue-colored skinny cat spending a lovely afternoon in the tree house.
The book is good for shared reading as it revolves around a light-hearted story of friendship and cooperation. Spread over 32 pages and primarily targeted at preschool readers, this book is a simple read and works as a new medium for readers to learn new words. The images are colorful and will soon become a favorite for the readers with the easy-to-relate story.
4. Biscuit Goes to School
Biscuit goes to school is a story by Alyssa Satin Capucilli with illustrations by Pat Schories. This very popular read-aloud book by Scholastic publication is a helpful addition to shared reading. It’s about a story of a young puppy, who goes to school for the first time and meets many people. Spanning around 32 pages, biscuit goes to school is a very intuitive and vividly colored book. The words are printed in a simple-to-read manner.
The illustrations are beautifully presented to the readers which helps them connect to the story as well as make it easier to understand.
The book denotes a very familiar and simple story, going to new places and meeting new people is scary. But it can also be equally fun, which is the central idea of the story. Biscuit’s journey from a reluctant and scared pug to a beloved member of the classroom is a perfect tale for all first-timers.
5. Snowball Soup
From one of the beloved read-aloud book series, I can read, comes another classic, Snowball Soup by Mercer Mayer. It is a simple story about three characters, Little Critter, Little Sister, and their Dog. The trio goes outside their house to play in the snow and they play in the snow enjoying the weather and each other’s company. The graphics depicted in the book are elegant and subtle to observe.
Moreover, the font of the letters is artistic and easy to read. The story is centered around two siblings and their dog, experiencing the beauty of winter and the excitement that the first snow brings. To add to this, the snowman is an important part of the story, showcasing the cooperation and understanding bond between the siblings. It is effective to inculcate good reading skills and improve vocabulary through shared reading.
6. What Should Danny Do?
Part of The Power to Choose book series, by Adir and Ganit Levy, What Should Danny Do features 8 stories. Being the Amazon Best Seller in 2018, the story showcases the children’s journey to school and making their own decisions. In all 8 stories, readers have to reach the endings as well as make strong choices for the Superhero training routine. Doing so promotes creative reading and understanding of the natural consequences of decisions and choices.
To add to this, there are many important life-enriching lessons such as honesty, empathy, friendship, and encouraging the growth of mindset. Not only are the stories relatable and easy to understand, but also the choices made at the book endings offer an effective learning experience. The readers also get an opportunity to learn new qualities about being a good person as well as think about their actions and reactions.
7. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
This board book authored by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle serves as a part of the Brown Bear and Friends book series. With many satisfied readers, it is a popular shared reading book for preschool readers. The story of the big brown bear features other animals such as a frog, purple cat, blue horse, and yellow duck. The illustrations are arranged in vividly colored collages.
The easy-to-read text offers a lively learning experience with a sing-along storyline. It is popular among readers of all generations. The colorful pictures combined with the rhythmic text as well as intriguing font make the reading easy and compelling. Such a book also helps children understand the importance of poetic effects.
8. Kindness is my Superpower: A children’s Book About Empathy, Kindness, and Compassion
Alicia Ortego brings to her young readers, a collection of important moral values clubbed into one storybook. The moral values taught through the story are important for the well-being and understanding of their place in society. The book is considered a remarkable tool for promoting social-emotional learning for raising well-mannered and good human beings. The rhymes and dynamically colored pictures teach more about the different lessons and moral values.
The story offers perfect examples for readers to understand others, accept the diversity in society and respect the environment. Importantly, it allows the readers to have a new and open experience about empathy and its value in society. Educating young readers to understand the different acts of kindness such as empathy, tolerance, diversity, and politeness are important themes of the story.
9. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Another shared reading classic is by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. It serves as a popular segment of the Chicka Chicka Book series. The catchy rhythm of learning alphabets from A to Z with an interesting storyline is coupled with beautiful pictures. The story revolves around the main character A, who is trying to beat all the other letters to reach the top of the coconut tree.
The appealing font and vivid pictures tell more about the story and the characters and make them convincing and easy to relate to it. Learning and reading are made easy with the rhyme and chants that are accompanied by the story. The book also has all alphabet at the end which students can recite after the shared reading session.
10. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly
Part of the Classic Books with Holes Board Book series, this excellently illustrated book features a catchy folk song. The old lady around whom the story revolves is depicted with certain holes in the pages. Through these holes, readers can get a small glimpse of the story on the following pages. The story is intricately narrated through the appealing pictures and the designs on the pages.
Children also get to know about some funny instances in the story about the old lady swallowing various animals. The book is an absolute success among young readers with the bright and clear images which make the story interesting. Moreover, the pictures are properly detailed to offer a fun reading session to children.
Reading is an important element in child development as children are exposed to basic grammar through books. Shared reading is an essential piece of equipment to build vocabulary for young learners. As shared reading is conducted in groups, children get an opportunity to furnish their communication and social skills.
The illustrations in the book also motivate the readers to have healthy and fruitful discussions with their peers and tutors. After reading the books, students can also practice their reading skills and vocabulary independently. Apart from this, teachers and parents can use different reading activities, websites, and applications to offer a diversified learning platform.