What is Shared Book Reading (SBR)?

Shared book reading (SBR) is a reading approach that can be used with any grade of learner to engage students in reading comprehension and learning text features. It uses a big book to model how to read a book, how to use picture clues, as well as it allows the students to follow along while you read. It consists of three readings, focusing on comprehension, choral reading, and on a particular text feature. This can be done as a whole class and will work with any grade, depending on the book that you choose; however, it may be more engaging for lower lever learners.

Why is SBR Important?

SBR is important because it focuses on three important strategies in reading. Focusing on comprehension models questions and strategies that students can use when they are reading their own books; it also whether or not the students are able to comprehend a text. Choral reading allows all students to participate in the text with support, allowing them to all have a chance to read. Finally, focusing on the text features will aid in your instruction later on; using the text features within the text gives the students context in which these features can be used. SBR is a whole class instruction and allows all readers from various levels to interact and work together.

What materials do I need and why?

A big book is needed so the students can all see the pictures and the words as you are reading. There should be many repeated phrases to aid in instruction. You need an easel to place your book on for ease of use. A pointer is needed to point to the words as you read so that the students may follow along.

How do I pick the appropriate text?

The appropriate text must include the text features that you wish to focus on. For example if you wish to focus on sound words, make sure that the text includes a variety of sound words.

-Choose a text that best fits the reading level of the majority of your classroom.

-Choose a text that has a lot of repetitive passages in order to aid with the choral reading and to reiterate the text features that you are focusing on.

What are the benefits to SBR?

There are many benefits of SBR:

-All students are able to participate

-It focuses on three different important reading strategies

-You are able to assess your classes’ comprehension and understanding of specific text features

-It allows students to practice their oral reading, but as a group so not one student is signalled out

-It allows the stronger students to help teach the young students in such areas as comprehension and with text features

-All students are able to see the words and follow along, modelling how to read a book

-The students will learn various strategies because they can see where you are finding the picture clues, where you may get stuck with a word, or where you back-up to when you back up and reread. It clarifies any strategy that you are teaching to your students by allowing them to follow along

What are the drawbacks to SBR?

There are some drawbacks with SBR

-The level of the book or the text features may be above some of your students’ reading level

-The book needs to be engaging in order for the students to get anything out of it

-It is a long process and needs to be done over many days

What is the process that I need to follow?

This strategy consists of three different readings, teaching a different strategy each time.

The First Reading

The first reading is to learn the story and for comprehension. When you are reading the text be sure to use the pointer and point to each word as you say it. During the first reading you can ask a variety of comprehension questions including: literal questions (where the answers are found in the text), inferential questions (the students need to use their own experiences and the text), prediction questions (the students will logically guess what will happen next) and questions based on the pictures (to have the students look at the pictures and learn to use picture cues); these will all be based on the level of your readers and the book that you choose. As you read through the text stop at each stage and ask some comprehension questions, this is to ensure that the students are engaged in the story and understand it.

The Second Reading

The second reading is a choral reading. This means that the students will read the story with you, though your voice will still be the louder one. The repetitive text helps with this. The students do this to aid in their reading and decoding skills. They are reading as a group, so even the lower level readers feel like they are able to participate.

The Third Reading

The third reading addresses text structure and parts of speech. The students will have already heard the text twice, so they should be fairly familiar with it. What you talk about in this part is dependent on where you are in your instruction, your students, their level, and the book that you choose. Some examples of what can be touched on are: descriptive words, sound words, tenses (past and present), repetitive letters, and letter sounds. Have the students come up and point to the words that answer your questions. This is another place where the repetitive text is helpful because you can ask the same question more than once and have a different student give you the answer; this reiterates what the first student said and it helps make the concept more concrete as it is repeated.

After the Readings

Once you are finished the readings, which shouldn’t happen all in one day, you may do an activity that fits your book or the type of concepts that you focused on.


Please watch the video below where I demonstrate and explain how this strategy works with a group of young students.



Lesson Plan from the Video

For the video I chose to use the book “Rattletrap Car” by Phyllis Root. Below I have posted a PDF of the questions that I used for this book. For my text feature I chose to focus on descriptive test, sound words and conversation, as you will see in the questions for the third reading.

Rattletrap Car Questions

I hope that this was useful to you and that you may be able to use Shared Book Reading in your classroom!


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