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kindergarten teacher reading picture book aloud to three students sitting on the carpet

Shared Reading

Shared Reading is an interactive reading experience that occurs when students join in or share the reading of a book or other text while guided and supported by a teacher. The teacher explicitly models the skills of proficient readers, including reading with fluency and expression. The shared reading model often uses oversized books (referred to as big books) with enlarged print and illustrations.

Key Information



When To Use This Strategy

During reading

Appropriate Group Size

With small groups
Whole class setting

Why use shared reading?

  • It provides struggling readers with necessary support.
  • Shared reading of predictable text can build sight word knowledge and reading fluency
  • Allows students to enjoy materials that they may not be able to read on their own.
  • Ensures that all students feel successful by providing support to the entire group.

How to use shared reading

  1. Introduce the story by discussing the title, cover, and author/illustrator. Ask the students to make predictions regarding what they think the story might be about.
  2. Read the story aloud to the students using appropriate inflection and tone. Pause and ask the students to make predictions. Ask brief questions to determine students’ comprehension level.
  3. Conclude the reading by reserving time for reactions and comments. Ask questions about the story and relate the story to the students’ similar experiences. Ask the children to retell the story in their own words.
  4. Re-read the story and/or allow time for independent reading.
  5. Conduct follow-up activities such as making crafts related to the story.

Chicka, Chicka, Boom, Boom: shared reading in kindergarten

Give students with an opportunity to practice reading fluency and expression through a shared reading with the class. The teacher asks questions as she reads to help students stay engaged. (From the Balanced Literacy Diet: Putting Research into Practice in the Classroom)

Collect resources

Language Arts

This site gives teachers some ideas for using shared reading with younger students and less skilled readers. See example › (opens in a new window)


This site offers several examples of how activities related to learning about science topics can be centered around the shared reading strategy. Downloads of several different poems are provided. See example › (opens in a new window)

Social Studies

This site provides five examples of shared reading lessons based upon the book Map It! by Elspeth Leacock. See example › (opens in a new window)

Shared Reading Booklists

Differentiated instruction

For second language learners, students of varying reading skill, and for younger learners

  • Teachers may wish to have Spanish copies of the shared reading books.
  • Books can be kept in an area accessible to students for independent and familiar rereading by students.
  • Ask students to write their own similar story using the same theme or sentence/language pattern of the book that has been shared.
  • Teachers can use sentence strips and have students can retell or build the story by putting the strips in order.
  • Have students write their predictions based upon what would happen next if the story were to continue.

Related resources

See the research that supports this strategy

Fountas, I. C., & Pinnell, G. S. (1996). Guided Reading, Good First Teaching for All Children. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann

Children’s books to use with this strategy

Topics this strategy is especially helpful for