How Is Shared Reading Different from a Readaloud?


I frequently get asked, “How is shared reading different from a readaloud?”

And that’s definitely a valid question! In both reading activities, we share and discuss a text with students.

However, these two activities look a bit different from each other, and we typically have different purposes for using them. So in today’s quick post, I’ll explain the differences between shared reading and a readaloud!

Ever wondered what the difference is between shared reading and a readaloud? Find out in this post!Photo Credits: Billion Photos, Shutterstock

In a nutshell, during a readaloud, you read a book TO students, and during shared reading, you read WITH students.

We typically use more challenging texts for readalouds (great for teaching vocabulary and working on higher level thinking skills). For shared reading, we choose books that are a bit closer to students’ reading levels (because they are actively participating, reading along with you, finding words in the text, etc.).

If you’re thinking about the gradual release of responsibility, a readaloud is more teacher-driven and involves more teacher modeling, and shared reading requires more active involvement of students.

Check out this graphic I created for more details:

Want more shared reading tips and freebies?

I’ve planned a few months’ worth of blog posts, videos, freebies, and eventually some free online workshops that are all about shared reading and reading workshop!

Want to make sure you don’t miss a thing? Sign up below for free — I will periodically email you resources so that you don’t miss out!

Happy teaching!


Burkins, J., & Yaris, K. (2016). Who’s Doing the Work? How To Say Less So Readers Can Do More. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Fountas, I., & Pinnell, G. S. (2016). The Fountas and Pinnell Literacy Continuum: Expanded Edition. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Parkes, B. (2000). Read it again!: Revisiting shared reading. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.


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5 years ago

Thanks Alison! This really helped clarify some things for me!

5 years ago

This is a great quick description. This needs to be spread everywhere. I am currently doing my masters in language and literacy and this was a big topic.

Lori Barrett
5 years ago

Thanks! I took a screen shot to print and keep!

Lisa Gonzales
5 years ago

Alison, I appreciate your knowledge and wonderful products. Thank you. I have a question. A coworker thinks that having students practice a book at home and then reading it to the class is shared reading. Is that correct? Also what is the difference between shared reading and guided reading? Thank you.

4 years ago

Thanks so much. I love the chart visual. Where do you find your resources to pull books for your IRA and shared reading? How do you find books on similar topics, but at different levels, to pair?

4 years ago

I am getting confused with reading workshop and shared reading. I am looking at both your products in TPT and not sure if you do do both each day. Can you do shared reading, have students apply skill to their independent reading while doing guided reading groups. I teach second grade. Thanks. I cant find the difference between reading workshop and shared reading on an internet search. Thanks

2 years ago

very useful! Thank you!

Reply to  Hetal

Glad it helped!


I’m Alison, a literacy specialist. I love getting kids excited about reading and writing – and sharing teaching ideas with other teachers!

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