Resources 1: Preparation for shared reading

Teacher resource for planning or adapting to use with pupils

Choose a story with characters and events that you think will interest your pupils.

Think about any background knowledge that pupils will need in order to understand and enjoy the story. Decide how to provide this before you begin the story reading. For example, young pupils in some parts of Africa would be familiar with a hippopotamus, but in others they may not be, so before reading the story Hot Hippo you would need to find out what pupils know by asking questions like these:

Questions to establish background knowledge:

  • What does a hippopotamus look like?
  • Would you be frightened of a hippopotamus? Why, or why not?
  • Where would you be likely to see one?
  • What does a hippopotamus eat?

First prediction question

This story is called Hot Hippo. Look at the drawing on the cover. (The drawing shows a hippopotamus trying to shelter under some palm leaves.) What do you think the story will be about?

Note: While these questions refer to the story Hot Hippo, similar questions could be asked about animals, people, places or activities in relation to any story.

Practise reading the story aloud before you use it in your classroom. Think about how to perform the voices of the characters and about the actions you can use to make the story come alive. If there are drawings with the story, decide how to use these when you read to your class.

Look for parts of the story where pupils can join in once they are familiar with the story. For example, in one story, Eddie the elephant tries to copy the actions of other animals or the actions of people and every time he fails he cries ‘Wah! Wah! Wah! Boo! Hoo! Hoo! I wish I knew what I could do!’ You could write a chorus like this on your chalkboard for pupils to follow.

Look out for places in the story where you could ask pupils some prediction questions, such as: ‘What do you think Eddie will do next?’ or ‘How could the Hot Hippo solve his problem?’

3. Encouraging individual reading

Resource 2: Questions to use with book readings – first, second and third readings