Shared reading is an essential piece of balanced literacy. We can use it to teach our students the skills they’ll need as they advance to higher levels in reading.
In today’s post I’m sharing tips for teaching reading comprehension during your shared reading lessons.
Have you been following along in my series about shared reading?
- In Week One, I explained what shared reading is.
- In Week Two, I gave you an editable shared reading lesson template.
- In Week Three, I showed you how to teach phonics within your shared reading lessons.
Today I’d like to show you how you can use your shared reading lessons to build comprehension.
How to use shared reading to build comprehension
Step 1 – Let the text guide you as you determine what comprehension skills and strategies to teach.
As I prepare shared reading lessons for The Measured Mom Plus, I consider what flows naturally from the text.
Sheep in a Jeep, by Nancy Shaw, is a great book to teach beginning, middle, and end.
Corduroy, by Don Freeman, is ideal for teaching basic story elements (characters, setting, problem, and solution).
In my lessons for I Want a Dog, by Jon Agee, I focused on predicting skills as well as tracking a character’s feelings throughout a story.
You can focus on many different comprehension skills and strategies during shared reading. Here are a few more!
- Making connections
- Asking questions
- Monitoring comprehension
Step 2 – Choose a day to focus on that comprehension skill or strategy.
I like to focus on comprehension at the beginning of the week if the skill is best taught on the first reading.
For example, it’s hard to teach predicting when students have already heard the book and know what’s coming next. So it makes sense to teach it at the beginning of the week.
Inferring is another skill that may work best at the first reading.
On the other hand, teaching your students about the beginning/middle/end, retelling, or summarizing a text may fit best at the end of your week’s lessons.
Step 3 – Integrate comprehension through all your lessons with both high and low level questions.
Even though you will choose one or two days to focus heavily on comprehension, it’s important to include it in all your lessons. After all, what’s the point of our phonics and fluency skills if we don’t understand what we’re reading?
- What can you tell about the book by looking at the cover?
- What can you see in this picture that helps you understand the story?
- What happened first/next/last?
- Does this book remind you of anything that’s happened to you?
- What is one new thing you noticed about the story today?
- How was the problem solved in the story?
- What’s another way the character could have solved the problem?
- What’s the most important thing the author wants you to know? (for a nonfiction text)
- What did you already know about this topic? What did you learn?
- How do the illustrations help you understand this topic better?
Step 4 – As time allows, include creative comprehension activities at the end of the week.
- Distribute pictures from the text that represent the beginning, middle, and end. Have students use them to retell the story. (You can purchase a second (small) copy of the text, cut it apart, and laminate pictures for this activity.)
- Write story events on sentence strips. Then have students help you put them in order on a pocket chart.
- Help students act out the story.
- Create a story map as a class.
- Have students illustrate the beginning, middle, and end.
- Create a new story based on the original during a shared writing lesson.
Have you seen the whole shared reading series?
Watch the member training
In this 17-minute training, members will learn:
- How often I recommend doing shared reading
- What to read during shared reading lessons
- The structure of a shared reading lesson
- What skills to teach
- How to keep the same text fun and interesting
Not a member yet? Learn more here.