Shared Reading and Writing

Adults and students read a book or poem repeatedly, helping students develop confidence in their ability to read. Students re-read the story or poem, act it out, and make a new version of the book or poem.

The Role of the Educator is:

  • to demonstrate and develop specific reading strategies,
  • to help students develop sight vocabulary,
  • to have students at all skill levels working together,
  • to provide students with concept-rich materials,
  • to encourage students to discuss reading experiences, and
  • to help create a body of known texts that students can use for independent reading and as resources for writing and vocabulary development.

Observers Will See:

  • students in a circle near the teacher,
  • a big book or large white paper of books or poems,
  • the educator engaging in students' discussions,
  • mini-lessons on strategies for reading, and
  • a variety of reading levels in the same group.

The Shared Reading and Writing Process 

A typical routine for conducting shared reading and writing consists of the following:

  1. Pick a book or poem you like.

  2. Read the selection to the students.

  3. Read it a second time.

  4. After the second reading, talk about words, illustrations, content, main idea, and story sequence.

  5. On successive days, continue to share the story or poem to the class. Use role play to help students understand the story. Once they understand the story or poem, focus on mini-lessons on developing language strategies. Make new versions of the story of poem.

  6. Finally, distribute small copies of the books or poems for independent reading time, or to share with parents and caregivers.

Classroom Applications

  • Use poems tied to the themes. Write the poems on big white paper or on sentence strips and pocket charts. Students can interact with print and manipulate the strips as they read and write. They can also illustrate the texts and develop their own versions of the story. The teacher can have the students sequence the story, highlight sight words and new vocabulary, and make new endings for the story.

(Corrado, C. (1999). Shared reading and writing: Directing the tour through text. Perspectives in Education and Deafness, 17 (5), May/June, pp. 14-17).

  • Explain the conventions of print (e.g. We read pages top to bottom, left to right; we read words, not pictures); help students use successful reading strategies such as using meaning and the first and most important clue to understanding words, prediction and self-correction, building and reinforcing sight vocabulary, and point out letter/sound relationships.


Big books and variation of props can help the readers achieve with language development; specific tools can be used to promote this development. The use of "Big Books" with a stand enables a group of children to see and process almost simultaneously the English printed on the page and the signs used by the reader.

Big Books Publishers

Learning Links 800-724-2616  
Newbridge 800-867-0307
Pearson Learning Group 800-526-9907
Rigby 800-822-8661
Scholastic 800-724-6527
Sundance 800-343-8204
McGraw Hill 800-648-2970

Pointers can be used to focus students' attention on printed words or phrases in the text. There are several variations of pointing out words or phrases in a story's text. Frames (commonly referred to as masks) and cutout frames are used to highlight specific words or phrases in the text. Sticky notes (Cloze Procedure) hide specific words or phrases. Sentence strips can be used for acting out a story or make new connecting words or phrases to form sentences. Other materials are listed in the Materials Resource List below.

Materials Resource List

Magna Doodle®
Can be found at many toy stores

ABC Magnetic Letters
Can be found at many toy stores

Colored Rolls of Tape
Highlight tape: 800-321-0401
From Crystal Springs Books

Monster Fingers
From Oriental Trading: 800-228-2269


Word Whacker
Can be made from any fly swatter

Good Places to Get Started

Selecting Predictable Books

The Read Aloud Handbook (Trelease), of interest to both parents and teachers, explains that repeated readings are a natural and necessary part of language development. The repetition improves children's vocabulary, sequencing, and memory skills. In Read It Again and Again (Schleper), there are four predictable patterns: repetition, cumulative sequence, known sequence, and rhythm and rhyme.

Repetition: Utilizing Recurring Words and Phrases

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst
Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
I Went Walking by Sue Williams
Jack Baked the Cake by B.G. Hennessy
Mama Do You Love Me? By Barbara M. Joosse
Mrs. Wishy-Washy by Joy Cowley
Mrs. Wishy-Washy's Tub by Joy Cowley
Open Your Mouth by Joy Cowley
Owl Babies by Martin Waddell
The Pig In the Pond by Martin Waddell 
Something For Nothing by Phoebe Gilman
Tough Boris by Mem Fox
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema

Cumulative Sequence: Learning Through Familiar Themes

Bringing the Rain to Kapiti Plain by Verna Aardema 
Henny Penny by H.W. Zimmerman
Here Is the African Savanna by Madeleine Dunphy
The House That Crack Built by Clark Taylor
The House That Drac Built by Judy Sierra
The House That Jack Built by Jeanette Winter
I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson
Jump, Frog, Jump! By Robert Kalan
The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams
The Napping House by Audrey Wood
One Monday Morning by Uri Shulevitz
Rooster's Off to See the World by Eric Carle
The Sandwich That Max Made by Marcia Vaughan
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Trout! by Teri Sloat
Today Is Monday by Eric Carle

Known Sequence: Learning Through Familiar Themes

Adding Animals by J.Y. Morton
Ashanti to Zulu by Margaret Musgrove
The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
Chesapeake ABC by Priscilla Cummings
Chicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak
Moja Means One by Muriel Feelings
One Guinea Pig Is Not Enough by Kate Duke
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
Roll Over! A Counting Song by Merle Peek
Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews
Ten Little Menehunes by Demming Forsythe
Ten Minutes Till Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann
Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
The Three Billy Goats Gruff Pictures by Ellen Appleby
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
When This Box Is Full by Patricia Lillie

Rhythm and Rhyme: Using Recurring Beats and Handshapes

Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger
Charlie Parker Played Be Bop by Chris Raschka
Clean Your Room, Harvey Moon by Pat Cumming
The Dancing Fly by Joy Cowley
Graph It! By Jennifer Osborne
Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss
I Am Eyes-Ni Macho by Lelia Ward
I Have a Dream by Martin Luther King, Jr.
Is Your Mama a Llama by Deborah Guarino
I Love Spiders by John Parker
Jack (traditional tale)
Mary Had a Little Lamb by Sara J. Hale
Mary, Mary (traditional tale)
The New Baby Calf by Edith N. Chase
Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells
Old MacDonald by Rosemary Wells

DVD and Manual

The Clerc Center offers a comprehensive listing of educational products and services available from the Clerc Center, including the manual and DVD of Read It Again and Again. For more information about ordering or other products, visit the Clerc Center Products Catalog.

Supportive Research and Descriptive Literature

Erting, L., and Pfau, J. (1997). Becoming bilingual: Facilitating English literacy development using ASL in preschool. Washington, DC: Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University.

Holdaway, D. (1979). The Foundations of Literacy. Sydney, Australia: Aston Scholastic.

Martinez. M. and Roser, N. (1985). Read it again: The value of repeated reading during storytime. Reading Teacher, 38, pp. 782-786.

Parkes, B. (2000). Read It Again! Revisiting Shared Reading. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers, ISBN 1-57110-304-X.

Schleper, D. R. (1998). Read It Again and Again. Washington, DC: Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center at Gallaudet University, ISBN 0-88095-217-2.

Sulzby, E. (1985). Children's emergent reading of favorite storybooks: A developmental study. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, pp. 458-481.

Websites Related to Shared Reading and Writing

Shared Reading (Hubbard's Cupboard)

Shared Reading: An Effective Instructional Model (Houghton Mifflin's Education Place)

A Suggested Teaching Sequence for Shared Reading (Reading Curriculum Portfolio)


Allen, J. (2002). On the Same Page: Shared Reading Beyond the Primary Grades. Portland, ME: Stenhouse Publishers.

Erting, L. (1997). Becoming Bilingual: Facilitating English Literacy Development Using ASL in Preschool. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University's Laurent Clerc National Deaf Education Center.

Fisher, B. (2000). Perspectives on Shared Reading: Planning and Practice. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

McCarrier, A. (2000). Interactive Writing: How Language and Literacy Come Together, K-2. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Mooney, M. E. (1990). Reading To, With, and By Children. Katonah, NY: R.C. Owen Publishers.

Parker, B. (2000). Read It Again!: Revisiting Shared Reading. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Payne, C. (1998). Getting the Most Out of Morning Message and Other Shared Writing Lessons. New York: Scholastic.

Schifferdanoff, V. (2001). Beyond Morning Message. New York: Scholastic.

Schleper, D. R. (1998). Read It Again and Again. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University, PCNMP.

Slaughter, J. P. (1993). Beyond Storybooks: Young Children and the Shared Book Experience. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.

Swartz, S. L. (2002). Shared Reading: Reading with Children. Carlsbad, CA: Dominie Press, Inc.

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