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Shared Reading of Predictable Books (page 2)

By — Pearson Allyn Bacon Prentice Hall
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

Children Understand What Reading Is for as they Engage in Shared Reading

As children join in the shared reading of a predictable book, they experience what reading is. They know what it feels like and sounds like and, most importantly, they develop the confidence that they can learn to read. Think of shared reading experiences as the training wheels on a bike. Training wheels allow a child to get the feel of the bike, to steer and stop, to ride faster and slower, without also having to concentrate on keeping the bike upright. Once the child develops confidence in bike riding and some bike riding skills, the training wheels are removed and the child rides without them—but often with a parent running alongside the bike! Soon, the child will ride the bike completely on his or her own. Shared reading allows children to experience reading before they have all the print tracking and decoding skills to read on their own. As they develop these skills, they will move toward being independent readers and will no longer need the training wheels support provided by shared reading.

Children Develop Print Concepts as They Engage in Shared Reading

Once you and the children have read and reread a favorite predictable Big Book several times, you can use that Big Book to help them develop print concepts, including some important jargon such as word and sentence and tracking print from left to right. The most concrete activity you can use to build these print concepts is called Sentence Builders. In Sentence Builders, you write all the words and punctuation marks from several pages of a book on separate index cards. The cards are distributed to various children and these children build a sentence by matching their card to the words and punctuation marks in the book.

Children Learn Some Words as They Engage in Shared Reading

Imagine that you have read and reread Brown Bear, Brown Bear or any of the many favorite predictable books with your students. You have written the words on cards and let the children match the words to sentences in the book and build the sentences. You have done the Sentence Builder activity several different times, allowing different children to be different words. Children are going to learn some of the words. Many children will learn the concrete words that name the animals, such as bear, bird, and duck. They might also learn some of the color words, brown, red, and yellow. Because words are repeated in all the sentences, some children will learn some of the abstract connecting words, such as what, do, you, see, I, and at.

Emergent literacy research shows that children from literate homes have often experienced 1,000 hours of reading and writing before coming to school. Many of the books read to young children are predictable books that they insist on having read over and over and from which they learn some of the words. Shared reading simulates this experience and gives everyone the opportunity to encounter what reading feels like, to understand print concepts, and to learn to read some words.

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