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The Making of Proficient Readers

            To become adept and proficient readers, students must be able to extract and construct meaning through the interaction of the written language using their knowledge of the semantic, syntactic, and phonological system of language. Such interaction and involvement of texts often involves the teacher and class reading together. This type of reading experience, known as shared reading, is a group reading experience, which engages learners in intensive reading experiences through repeated reading. Coined by Don Holdaway (1979), a New Zealand educator, shared reading was built upon the research examined from bedtime reading experiences. Such research proclaimed that storybook reading, particularly done by parents in a home setting, is a critically important factor in a young childs reading development. This shared reading model allows for a group of children to experience the benefits the same one child may have at home. In this specific model, children engage in intensive reading experiences, where there are multiple readings of one book over several days. Children begin to become actively involved in the readings as the text becomes familiar and begin to recognize many of the words and phrases. .
             Shared reading is often conducted with the use of enlarged print in the form of big books, projectors, songs, poems, or multiple copies of texts. Big books are print accessible and enable all students to join in reading, comfortably. If the text is not available in large texts, an overhead projector can be used to enlarge the selected prints. Martha Combs also suggests the use of poems, songs, and chants as a shared reading exercise. The rhythmic and repetitive chants work best when the readings which contain predictable and decodable vocabulary. Followed by shared reading with the teacher, students begin to pay more attention to vocabulary and the decoding strategies used for relevant words found in texts.

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