Kindergarten Shared Reading Poetry

Do you want to take your students reading abilities to the next level while at the same time making reading a fun and engaging activity rather than a dread? … Let me introduce you to Shared Reading Poetry 

Shared reading is a POWERFUL tool in the primary grade levels because it is very enjoyable and engaging for emergent readers AND provides so many teaching opportunities.

benefits of Shared Reading

Some of the benefits of Shared Reading in primary classroom include: 

    • Providing opportunities to model and teach various literacy behaviors (point to where I start reading, return sweep, matching and saying one word for each word I see, modeling and practicing fluency, phonics practice in context, etc.)
    • Improving reading fluency
    • Teaching sight words in context
    • Exposing children to text above their independent reading level
    • Fostering a love for reading by making it enjoyable with a feeling of success
    • Children actively participating in the learning process
    • Incorporating movement & songs that activates more of the brain
    • And, SO MUCH MORE!
After receiving extensive training in Shared Reading, I can honestly say, it was love at first sight. I was struck by how much learning took place in a short amount of time and how the students enjoyed and eagerly engaged with it. 

I include Shared Reading poetry almost every week in my lesson plans. Since implementing this in my kindergarten classroom, I have seen substantial growth in my little readers along with a positive attitude towards reading. I can’t sing its praises enough!

What is Shared REading?

Well… “What is Shared Reading?!” you may ask.

In a nutshell, Shared Reading is a model of instruction where students read an enlarged text together. The text is moderately complex and above where they could read on their own. The teacher provides a lot of support in the reading process and, at times, the text is memorized to free up metal working space so as to practice various reading behaviors or to do a deeper dive with word analysis.

Though the Shared Reading experience starts as a whole group reading the enlarged text together, it soon transitions to a smaller version of the same enlarged text, gradually moving more towards individual practice (The Gradual Release Model).

The text chosen could be in the form of a big book, a song, a poem, or a projected book on a screen (I’ve used digital books from Reading A-Z subscription or a small book projected on a document camera). The point is, it’s an enlarged text where everyone can clearly see the words, and the text is read or sung together as a class.  

In the video below, I describe what Shared Reading is in greater detail.

Implementing Shared REading Poetry

During the literacy block, I have scheduled about 15-20 minutes for Shared Reading. Each week I select one poem and we use the same poem throughout the week but with a different teaching focus each day.

At the beginning of the kindergarten year, my focus is mostly on Early Literacy Behaviors along with letters and sounds and simple sight words. As the year progresses, we focus on fluency and a variety of other sight words or phonic patterns in words, etc. 

Prepping for Shared Reading

Supplies for Shared Reading include:


To prep the poem printable materials, I print everything prior to the lesson and, I always prefer to print in color. (There is research that show how color increases engagement and supports the learning process.) The colorful pictures help to support comprehension and make the poem more attractive to the learner. If I have the time and resources, I may laminate the poems for extra durability but it’s not necessary.

Items to print:

    • Pocket chart poem words and companion pictures
    • Mini-poems for poetry journals
    • Emergent reader booklet (optional)


After printing materials, I cut out the word strips and the pictures and insert them into a large pocket chart (see example photo below). Another option could be writing the poem on sentence strips (definitely more time consuming) or project the poem on a large screen (less time consuming but less interactive).

Home-Made Highlighter strips

Making highlighter strips is very easy and cost effective. Simply buy plastic, transparent binder dividers and cut them into small rectangles large enough to cover words in the pocket chart. 

Poetry journals

As mentioned above, the enlarged text transitions to a smaller version for each students to read and look at more closely and individually. This is where we use our poetry journals (see example picture below).

Students use a standard composition notebook for this. At the beginning of the year, I introduce them to their poetry journals and have them color the front cover. I also help them tape a ribbon onto the back of the notebook so they can use as a book marker (optional).

I teach them how to use their book marks and go to “the next fresh, clean page” to glue their poem down. This helps so that they aren’t picking a random page in the middle of the book which definitely happens in kindergarten in you don’t pay attention. Haha!

5 Day Lesson Plan break down

Though we use the same poem throughout the week, we have different teaching focuses on each day. Below is a visual example of what it could look like.

Lesson PLan "How to"

First day

On the first day, I introduce the poem by singing the poem to them and teaching them the hand motions. Then I ask them to join in with me. Finally, I say “I’m going to get quieter and you are going to get louder.” We read it a few times until they are pretty much doing it independently.

I find it very helpful to add hand motions, or movement, to the song or poem. This is a great accommodation for your ELL learners, but regardless, incorporating movement always increases engagement and therefore learning.

Second day

On the second day, we review the poem. Sometimes I have a student come up to point to the words and lead the class. If they struggle to “make it match,” saying the correct word they are pointing to, then I will help them with hand-over-hand assistance. I will share a teaching focus and then we only go through the poem a few times to warm up and practice. 

Following our practice, the students then get out their poetry journals and glue the new poem in. Student use the back of their pencil as a pointer stick and together we sing/read the poem together while trying to point to the words. Approximating is completely acceptable when students are attempting to point to the words, especially at the beginning of the year. 

Third day

After we have pretty much memorized the poem and practiced pointing to the words, we then zoom in on the letters and/or words we see in the poem. I will introduce a letter or sight word that I want them to find in the poem by writing it on a mini-white board and hold it up. I will say “This is the word ‘to.’ Say ‘to.’ Raise your hand if you see the word ‘to’ in our poem,” and then I call a student up to the pocket chart to highlight the word. The same can be done with letters and sounds in the poem.

Fourth DAY

On the fourth day, we continue our letter or sight word hunt but this time, instead of doing it as a whole group, each student finds it in their own poetry journal. We highlight the words with our crayons. 


As we find each word, I like to have the students go in the order of the colors of the rainbow. The first sight word we look for, we highlight in a red crayon. The next word we highlight in orange and so on until we are done looking for words. Depending on my students’ ability level, I will have them write the sight word on the left page next to the poem using the corresponding crayon color (see example picture).


Once we are finished highlighting, I have the students reread the poem with a buddy, attempt to ‘make it match,’ pointing to the words as they sing/read the poem together.

Fifth DAY

Last, the students receive a mini companion book of the poem that they can color and read independently. They can keep these in their book baggie to read during independent reading time or take home and read to their parents. These mini-books could also be used to find and highlight sight words in a small group setting. 


Don’t be surprised if you hear the children humming or singing their poems throughout the day. They love the poem-songs so much that they will often sing or chant them over and over again with each other. 

Try it and I bet you’ll find that you kiddos love poetry!

For ready-made shared reading resources, visit my store  Mrs. Young’s Teaching Corner to check out the poem printables I have available.



Mrs. Young


“Doing little things with great love!” 

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