Whole Group/Shared Reading

What the child can do in cooperation today, he can do alone tomorrow. Therefore, the only good kind of instruction is that which marches ahead of development and leads it; it must be aimed, not so much at the ripe as the ripening function.

--L. S. Vgotsky


The whole group/shared reading component is an intentional interactive reading experience with print (enlarged texts, picture book, portions of extended texts, song and poem charts, etc.). During this time the teacher uses the selected text to model and point out specific teaching emphases/grade level expectations.

Teacher Role

Before During After
  • Select text and appropriate Grade Level Expectations
  • Determine focus of session(content and/or strategy)
  • Introduce text activating prior knowledge
  • State purpose for reading
  • Model strategies and use "metacognitive talk"
  • Read (and possibly reread text) as naturally as possible (few stops)
  • Encourage students to "join in/participate"
  • Make teaching focus explicit
  • Observe how the learners are processing and internalizing the information
  • Make book available for children to reread
  • Encourage varied responses in text
  • Connect whole group/shared reading experience to guided reading, 1:1 instruction and Sustained Silent Reading

Student Role

Before During After
  • Make predictions
  • Think about prior knowledge
    • Follow and join in
    • Participate/predict
    • Watch for strategies the teacher is using
    • Reread text
    • Respond to text in different ways
    • Apply strategies to new reading situations


    • Many and varied opportunities should be provided to require the reader to use and practice strategies that aid the reader in prereading, during reading, and post-reading comprehension (Braunger & Lewis, 1997, Whole Group and Small Group))
    • Whole Group/Shared Reading provides many models and demonstrations within the context of real text (Holdaway, 1979)
    • To construct meaning, instruction should include explicitly taught comprehension strategies for reading narrative and expository text (Braunger & Lewis, 1997, Small Group & Whole Group)