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A Book on Every Bed Shared Reading

Girl reading bookThe value of reading to and with your children has been the topic of much research. Shared reading was developed by Don Holdaway (1979). It builds from the research that indicates that storybook reading is critical to the development of young children’s reading (Wells, 1986). Storybook reading done by parents in a home setting is particularly effective (Strickland & Taylor, 1989) in developing early reading skills.

Repeated readings of the same story accomplish several goals:

The first reading is for enjoyment and should not delve into vocabulary. If the listener points out pictures or asks questions it is fine to stop and discuss these but only if the listener initiates this.

The second may focus on building and extending comprehension of the plot. Questions related to what will happen next or why did a character act this way may arise during this reading.

A third might focus attention on interesting words.

A fourth might focus on sounding and/or, using the words from the story for painting or adding to a word box or posting words around the room.

Shared reading makes effective use of multiple readings of the same book over several days. In this reading, parents, grandparents, other caregivers should make every effort to actively involve the listener in the reading.

Here are some ways to do this:

Talk about the title of the book.

Examine the pictures. Talk about what the pictures tell about plot events, characters and/or setting.

Encourage the listener to guess what is going to happen next. This might include a conversation about what might happen after the book’s plot ends. For example: Did Max have the same dream again? Did his dream change his behavior?

Talk about situations in the book that are similar to those in the listener’s experience. For example: Do the listener and a book character share a favorite article, a favorite pet, a favorite food? Do they have similarities in appearance? Do they share a wish or a fear? Has the listener ever been sent to his room like Max was?

Pause in the reading and ask the child to finish a word or phrase. Because many of the books include predictable text, children can often chime in with a word or phrase. This will occur more and more often as the book sharing is repeated.

Sunrise Readers

Let the listener be the page turner and share in holding the book.

Through repeated readings and the predictable text, listeners will become familiar with word forms and begin to recognize words and phrases. Explore these together. Perhaps even post words from the story around the child’s room. Make this a natural process not a forced or formal teaching. These should be teachable moments. The child might find all the words on the paged that start like his name, for instance.

Rich interesting stories enrich a listener’s life. Each repeated reading is like peeling an onion. They unearth yet another appreciation for or understanding of the plot, the pictures, the characters’ motivation and/or how what is happening in the story mirrors the listener’s life. There is no set rule about how many times a book is repeated or how much time elapses between readings.

As adults we often tend to think: Read that. On to something else! However, think about how rereading a book or reviewing a movie enriched your appreciation for that work. Kids love to hear stories again and again. Don’t overlook the benefits for repeated reading of a good book!


As a support for the Book on Every Bed literacy program, Richly Middle Class is pleased to provide a book a month to one lucky reader. This month’s book is Love Your Forever by Robert Munsch. It’s one of our favorites! This picture book is great to share with preschoolers to middle school age listeners. It has a powerful message for readers of all ages.

Do you want to be the lucky winner of RMC’s book this month? Here’s how. Leave a comment.

Tell us why you want to receive Love You Forever and how you will use this book to promote literacy in as part of shared reading in your home or community.

Happy reading!

Be the change you'd like to see in the world. Gandhi - Always, Gail

About glennon

Gail is a former teacher, a published writer, and a professional editor. She makes her home in Canada for the summer and Florida for the winter. She loves to write, to travel, and to meet new writers through her editing business. She is thrilled to play a small part in Richly Middle Class. Visit her website at http://www.gleditingandcopywriting.com.


  1. I would love to win this book because it was a favorite when I was younger and I remember reading it to my sibiligs. I would love to carry on the tradition and love to share this wonderful story with my children.

    • Hi Katie:

      I am smiling as I read your post. I too used to read to my siblings. I recall one hot summer reading to them from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book about the tribulations of surviving a harsh winter. I truly believe the books we remember best are ones we read to others or had read to us.

      Thanks for taking the time to visit RMC and for your comments. Good luck! We are so grateful to Cynthia and Heather for supporting the Book on Every Bed campaign.

      glennon recently posted…Are you still pretending to be sixteen when it comes to health issues?My Profile

  2. Hi Gail,

    This looks like a great book. I am going to order one for our household as well. My child loves to read to the post she does not want to get read of books that she has truly outgrown. I think learning to read early is important in every child’s like. Thank you for coming up with another great book this month.
    Cynthia recently posted…Where is Your Self-Respect?My Profile

    • Hi Cynthia:

      This is indeed a sweet book. The first time I encountered it the author read it to an audience of a thousand educators and everybody cried because we could all identify someone in our lives like the characters in the book. I am sure you and Madyson will enjoy the book. The pictures are beautiful. Thanks for promoting A Book on Every Bed!

      The article illustrations rock! Thank you.

      glennon recently posted…A Book on Every Bed Shared ReadingMy Profile

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