Shared Reading Activity

Shared reading activity, or activities are central to the success of text-based intervention.

Shared reading is a set of language intervention tools that use a variety of stimulation techniques to strengthen a student's ability to read for meaning.

Shared reading activity is based on Communicative Reading Strategies, (Norris, 1991) which consists of a number of scaffolding strategies designed to improve a reader's oral and written language skills.

One of the most valuable aspects of shared reading is that it focuses on reading being a meaning-making process. (DeKemel, 2003)

My experience has been that many school-age students have difficulty with reading because they don't read for meaning.

Some students with language impairment can give the impression they are competent readers, because they have adequate decoding skills, and their reading sounds fluent. But decoding is not really reading.

When you dig a little deeper it becomes clear that the student has little understanding of the meaning of the text, or - importantly - the author's intended message.

Difficulty in understanding a story's meaning, despite adequate reading fluency, is common in school-age children with language disorder.

Oral and Written Language in Partnership

A factor in the success of shared reading strategies is the pairing of oral and written language stimulation techniques to strengthen a student's understanding of a story's meaning.

Oral language, as speech-language pathologists know, has many advantages when being taught, because it is rapid by nature and can be modified endlessly.

Oral language allows for a large amount of information to be presented in a short amount of time. The clinician provides revisions and clarifications when needed. (Norris, 1991)

In contrast to oral language, written language is stable and allows for the careful examination of the elements in its construction. This is a huge advantage when teaching language skills.

Written language can be repeated because text is a permanent record of a message. Information that is unfamiliar or difficult for a student can be returned to as often as needed, to ensure that the student understands the language used.


DeKemel, K.P. (2003) Intervention in Language Arts: A Practical Guide for Speech-Language Pathologists. Butterworth-Heinemann.

Kaderavek, J & Justice, L.M. (2002) Shared Storybook Reading as an Intervention Context: Practices and Potential Pitfalls. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, Vol 11. 395-406.

Norris, J.A. (1991) From Frog to Prince: Using Written Language as a Context for Language Learning, Topics in Language Disorders. Vol 12, 66-81

Content Last Updated 8/11

Return from Shared Reading Activity to Shared Book Reading

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