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Activities with a Role in Emergent Reading

Activities with a Role in Emergent Reading
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  • 0:00 The Emergent Reader
  • 0:30 Lap Reading
  • 1:45 Shared Reading
  • 2:50 Guided Reading
  • 4:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Whittemore

Jessica has taught junior high history and college seminar courses. She has a master's degree in education.

Learning to read can be a difficult journey for many. As experienced readers, there are things we can do to help them on their way. This lesson discusses the emergent reading strategies of lap reading, shared reading, and guided reading.

The Emergent Reader

Readers aren't just born, they're nurtured and created. Even the most dedicated of book devourers was once an emergent reader. They were little ones in the beginning stages of learning to read who needed help along their journey to literacy.

In today's lesson we'll take a look at some of the strategies for helping today's emergent readers. We'll specifically highlight lap reading, shared reading, and guided reading.

Lap Reading

Familiar to most of us, lap reading is the purposeful action of reading to an emergent reader. The word purposeful is included in this definition because lap reading intentionally introduces emergent readers to appropriate reading behaviors and skills. Although the term lap reading sounds very casual, it's much more than just a way to quiet a child before bed or fill the hours of babysitting.

For instance, during lap reading, the emergent reader must be able to see the text. It's not enough to just read to them - they need to be shown the words on the page. No, the emergent reader doesn't actually have to be sitting on the reader's lap; however, the blanket term 'lap reading' is used to denote physical closeness between the reader and the listener. It's believed this physical closeness helps foster positive feelings about reading.

In addition to the physical closeness, lap reading is made even more beneficial if the reader points to the words as they are read. This introduces young readers to the concept of directionality in reading and spacing within the text. When done purposefully, lap reading can have a great impact on an emergent reader's view of reading. In fact, studies show that lap reading is positively tied to a lifelong love of reading.

Shared Reading

Shared reading is also an excellent tool for helping emergent readers. Shared reading is occurring when a more experienced reader reads an enlarged-text book to a group of readers. Great examples of shared reading occur daily in kindergarten classes across the land. Teachers gather students in their classrooms' reading corners and pull out a big book for all to see. The teacher then holds the book outward so her students can see the text while she reads.

Like in lap reading, this affords students the opportunity to connect what they are hearing to printed words. Not only does shared reading teach print awareness, it also allows the teacher to model reading with expressions, appropriate pacing, and - when done with a smile - the joy of reading.

Shared reading also exposes emergent readers to texts which are beyond their reading level. No, they might not be able to read tales like Curious George or The Magic Tree House on their own, but shared reading can wet their chops for the world of independent reading and books.

Guided Reading

Our last strategy for the day is that of guided reading. This strategy is in use when teachers work with small groups of emergent readers of similar reading ability. Usually keeping group sizes to less than six, guided reading differs from lap reading and shared reading in that each reader has their own text. Rather than all sharing the same big book, guided reading sees students following along in their own texts. This allows students to have more ownership of the learning process.

In a guided reading session, the teacher usually reads the text first while students are encouraged to follow along. After hearing the text once or twice, the emergent reader will then be encouraged to try and read some of the text by themselves.

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