Let's Get INTERACTIVE: 3 Great Tips for Interactive Shared Reading

Let's imagine that you are ready to share a book...you gather all your students on the rug...they are all sitting "crisscross applesauce" ready to begin the story...just waiting for you to start...all eyes on you, smiles gleaming. They are so excited they can hardly contain their emotions. All directions have been announced and modeled.

They know that they will have such a "fun"tastic time interacting and taking part in Shared Reading for the day! They are ready!!!

Let's Get Interactive: 3 Great Tips for Interactive Shared Reading...a great ideas to involve your students in your shared reading! You will love all 3 tips!!
I remember those days...great memories and now that I am retired...I want all of you to have this same experience! YES...YOU! You can do this with these tried and true tips! 
I have had a few principals, get so involved when they observed, that THEY even began to participate...and said,

I wish my elementary reading experiences were like this!

So...drumroll please....Here you go:

3 Great Tips for Interactive Shared Reading!!!

1.  Get your students thinking about the books you use for shared reading:  Plan ahead and see which parts of the story you want to share can be integrated with participation in the story.  If you feel that the story won't work, then definitely assign your students predetermined "Thinking Partners" for shared reading that can change every so often.  Then
 sticky note parts of the story that they can make predictions and inferences, rethink metacognitively
( I am not sure if that is a word, but if not, I just invented it!!) and parts where your students can think about questions they might have at the beginning, middle and ending of the text.  If you have done the work beforehand, your experience will run so much more smoothly!

So...now...when you gather children onto the carpet, ask them to sit with their "Thinking Partner" and to be ready to Think, Pair, Share, which of course you have already modeled several times...I hope!! (Simply have children to their partner and chat about the parts of the text as directed by YOU!)

Now...these partners are ready to go...Don't they look happy?

2.  Use visual props to support reading Comprehension:  Now this tip is connected to #1.
In a small basket next to your reading chair, have visuals to support Reading Comprehension Strategies; such as, Visualizing, Cause and Effect, Questioning or what you might be wondering about right now and Making Predictions.  Then as you ask the question or want your students to share with their "Thinking Partners"...you simply hold up the sign that matches what you want them to do.  

While reading, you can also give each child a different part to play: The prediction Maker and they have the wand, The visualizer with the fake glasses or a pair of dollar store glasses, the Thinker, etc.

Later you will see students using the clouds and props on their own while partner reading or even reading to self!!! 

Here are some samples of some of the props I used with my kiddos and to make sure I am your BFF, you can find them HERE along with some other related Reading Comprehension resources.

              Making Predictions:                                                  Visualizing:



                        Cause and Effect:                                  Explain your Thinking or Metacognitive

Questioning or I Wonder: 

These props can be used with ANY Book!

3.  Using actual props from the text: Say What?  I LOVE dong this and so do all children.  It can even be fun to do at home with a story when reading with your own students or in a homeschool setting.  So let me explain:  

Take a book like If you Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff or actually any book in her series of similar texts.  

Look through the story to what items you can collect around the house or purchase them at the dollar store.  Then give students or partners and item you have pre-purchased. As you read the story to your class, have those students rise every time you read their item.  Imagine the fun of listening until their part comes!
After the story is read, see if your students can retell the story as a group using their props. 

One of my all time favorite books to encourage participation is: The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda Williams

The kiddos LOVE this story and in fact one day, a few years back, I invited my principal in for our Halloween Party and shared this book on the rug. At the end she screamed out in unison with the class, when I asked them to scream out what they thought the little old lady would do with all the items that followed her home!  PS...I always ask the students to scream, whisper, speak like a robot, a mouse, a baby or other ways when I want a whole class answer and it is the BEST!
They can't wait to hear what voice I will ask for to answer the question!!!
So to in order to use props for this story, you will need, shoes, a pair of pants, a shirt, a pair of gloves, a hat and a Jack-o-Lantern...                                                                         If you separate the shoes and gloves, there are 8 different props to give out to your class.  You can also add doubles of each item so everyone has a props or assign partners to each item.                                                                                    As you read the story to the class, they have to act out the parts with their props.  For example:  when the part is read,"the shoes went CLOMP, CLOMP."  the students who have the shoes make them walk...CLOMP, CLOMP! Just imagine the listening and participation that will magically happen when you share a book in this manner!  Can you read every single book this way? Probably not, but pick and choose those books that you can use this way and make it a "FUN Friday" activity...learning and fun. What more can a teacher ask for?

It has always been my philosophy to make learning educational and fun, so that each child will love learning, want to come to school, reach their potential and be their best self! 

Here are two fabulous authors whose books work great interactively with props:

There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Bat  With this story, you can have each childs stand every single time their item is read in the story or use this video below and YOU can be the OLD LADY! At the end everyone can YELL TRICK or TREAT!!!

Laura Numeroff Books.  She also has a classroom live on FB where she reads her stories and an education discount on her books on this site.

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  1. You have some great ideas on here! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Shared reading time is one of my favorites! These are great ideas! I especially love the props.

    1. I know i love shared reding as well and the props make it so much fun!

  3. I love The Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything! What great Ideas!

    1. It is my all time favorite book to use interactively!!

  4. I love those eye ball props - they really catch my attention :)

  5. Thank you for sharing your fabulous ideas!