Independent Reading and Shared Reading: Definition and Benefits
Reading has its sub-categories, among the many, independent reading and shared reading are the most common types of reading often used by preschoolers. Between the two, how do you know which type of reading is more beneficial and effective for your child? Let’s discuss each type, know how they differ, understand the benefits of each type, and when to appropriately use them.
Independent reading, as the name suggests, is when the child is left to read alone and understand the context of a book on how own. This type of reading requires self-reflection, it is where the child is able to help himself get the gist of the book from his point of view. Independent reading is important to improve the child’s stamina in reading. The parent or educator can also set goals for the child to further improve their love for reading and to build a life-long reading habit. Moreover, independent reading forms an integral part of the comprehensive literacy framework.
Interactive reading can also mean relating to the story being read by citing real-life experiences and examples. Being able to relate to the story through your own personal experience help you better comprehend what you are reading.
On the other hand, shared reading is the type of reading that requires interaction. This type of reading can be done in a classroom setting with a teacher and the whole class reading the book together. It can also be shared between a parent and the child- a quiet and alone time when the parent grabs a book and lovingly share reading it with their little one. Shared reading can be personal and private, the kind of reading that you do during bedtime storytelling. It can also be loud and interactive shared with a small group or the whole class.
Independent Reading and Shared Reading: Tips for Success
Independent and shared reading are essential for reading success. Each type of reading targets a specific reading skill for the child for them to fully maximise their reading potential. In shared reading, for example, the posture that you do when you are sharing the book with the child is welcoming to them, it’s like inviting the child to get into the world of books with you.
During bedtime reading, when you grab a book and spread it open, you invite the child to join in the reading with you. Even for kids who still aren’t able to read, the mere act of sharing the book actually leaves an impression that storytime makes them feel loved.
Children’s learning during shared reading has been found to be somewhat dependent on how well parents are able to “bridge the child’s world and the world of the book” (Bus, 2003). Through shared reading, children are able to better appreciate the book. The mere act of reading with the child gives them an idea that reading is fun and exciting.
Independent reading on the other hand, requires a different approach. Opposite to shared reading, this type of reading requires less or no assistance from the parent or educator. Reading is a skill, so practising it more often makes you better at it! This is the purpose of independent reading, you want to improve the reading fluency of the child by leaving them to read for themselves.
To help children read independently and make independent reading successful, it’s highly recommended that you offer a wide range of books- ideally, books that they have an interest in and they can easily relate to. “Books tailored to a child’s personal interests, needs and culture are very likely to elicit substantial interest and engagement” (Kucirkova, 2010). Personalised books are also known to improve the child’s interest in the book that they are reading. The personalised elements in the book-how the character’s look, their name featured in the text, and their being the hero of the story is significant in helping the child get a hang of reading.