For pre-readers in preschool and kindergarten, or students in special education who have not developed literacy skills, shared reading time is valuable time for learning about vocabulary and story structure.
- Shared reading is usually done with beginning readers, as a way to instill a love of reading, develop language and literacy skills, and provide access to a wide variety of literature.
- Studies recommend children should be read to at least 15 minutes per day. Many students with special needs do not get even this minimum amount. Start with brief reading then, as attention span grows, extend the time.
- When teachers think out loud during shared reading, they model for students how to deal with unfamiliar vocabulary and concepts, text features and structures. Teachers need to model strategies in order for students to learn to use them.
- Prediction is especially important. Stop throughout the story to predict what might happen next. Prediction questions increase comprehension.
- For students in special education who are just developing – or have not developed any – literacy skills, it is an essential classroom tool for increasing background knowledge, providing access to texts, and increasing important language skills.