Shared reading is an incredibly important part of the kindergarten day early in the year. I have worked recently to deepen my understanding of shared reading in order to improve my practice. Last year I began using a five day plan to help develop extension activities to make the most of shared reading time. I want to share a few successes, and a new idea I am excited to try.
First, variety is great! LOTS of things qualify as shared reading. Songs, poems, letters, big books, nursery rhymes, the alphabet chart – it is shared reading if all kids can see it. This might mean they have their own copy, or it might mean something is projected. I find that changing up the look and feel helps keep things interesting, and it exposes kids to lots of different types of things they can read. Songs are some of my favorites!
Give them continued access to the texts. Once kids feel confident reading something, they love to go back and read it over and over again. You can hang posters in the room of some things, or keep copies in the class library. One thing that has worked well for me has been having “poetry collections.” (Eventually I might have to expand the title to “Shared Reading Texts” or something like that.) After we have worked with a poem or rhyme, I give each student a copy to keep in their collection. These folders stay in their reading bag all year. They are a great confidence builder, especially for lower readers who need so much repetition.
Use movement! Young learners love and need to move. The bonus is that is deepens their understanding. When you experience things through multiple senses, you create more connections in the brain. Instead of just knowing what “Jack jump over the candle stick” looks like on paper, help your kids know what it feels like by actually jumping over the candlestick. They will remember the text longer, and they will have a deeper understanding of it if they move to it.
This year I plan on trying something new. We are fortunate enough to have SMART boards in our classrooms in my school. One feature is that you can write or draw something on the board, save the screen, and print it out. Our literacy coach suggested doing an interactive writing activity (where you share the pen with the students) on the SMARTboard. For example, co-write a narrative of a shared experience like a field trip. Then save and print a copy for each student, and include it in their collection. Students learn to read BEST from reading things they have written, so this plan takes the best of shared reading and the best of interactive writing, and gives us a perfect marriage. I will let you know how it goes!