St. Ninian's Primary School Shared Reading Case Study
At St. Ninian’s Primary School, South Ayrshire, our Primary 1/2 and Primary 7 classes have enjoyed taking part in a Shared Reading project. The aim of this project was to increase pupils’ enjoyment in reading. Pairing the P1/2s and the P7s really allowed the younger pupils to form relationships with the older pupils, whilst allowing the older pupils to develop their reading and questioning skills.
Prior to working with the younger pupils, the P7s spent a number of weeks preparing for their shared reading responsibilities. These sessions focused on developing P7s skills in reading aloud, questioning, prediction and summarising.
The final session with the P7s was spent exploring the picture books that the older pupils would read to their buddies throughout the project. Scottish Book Trust very kindly sent us a pack of three of the best picture books in Scotland: Little Owl’s Egg, The Fourth Bonniest Baby in Dundee and Gorilla Loves Vanilla. The older pupils responded really well to the books, and really enjoyed when the books were read to them! After getting a chance to explore the books, the P7s came up with a variety of activities to carry out with the younger pupils during the shared reading sessions. These activities focused on developing the younger pupils’ understanding of the stories through retelling.
Shared Reading Sessions
We were also visited by Scottish Book Trust for one of our sessions, which the pupils were very excited about! The pupils loved being able to share their thoughts and ideas with others and were delighted to be presented with a collection of over 20 picture books to add to our shared reading library!
The sessions are relaxed, and both parents and pupils have enjoyed choosing and reading books together. The pupils love seeing their parents read to others and enjoy starting their day with a story. It has been exciting to see the pupils’ confidence developing throughout these sessions – some pupils are even beginning to swap roles and read to the parents!
The outcomes of this project have been overwhelmingly positive for everybody involved. The older pupils have developed their confidence in reading aloud and using the picture books really encouraged some of the more reluctant readers to participate. Prior to beginning the project, almost all of the Primary 7s said they did not read picture books for a variety of reasons, with many believing that they were too ‘babyish’ or ‘boring’. However, since beginning the project, many of the older pupils have really changed their view of picture books, commenting:
“I found the last few weeks really fun, especially when we read the books!"
“My favourite part has been seeing all of the picture books suitable for the younger pupils.”
“I enjoyed working on the picture books.”
The Primary 1/2 pupils were very enthusiastic about the sessions and have enjoyed developing their relationships with the older pupils. Many of the younger pupils commented that their favourite part was just being with their P7 reading buddy. The younger pupils have benefitted from answering Bloom’s questions with their buddies and are more readily asking and answering questions about books in the classroom.
From a teacher’s perspective, I hope to continue to set up regular shared reading sessions using the picture books we have received from Scottish Book Trust. This project has truly transformed my own personal views of using picture books in the classroom, and it is certainly something that I hope to utilise throughout my own teaching!