Shared-Book Reading in China

Richard C. Anderson, Janet S. Gaffney, Wu Xinchun, Wang Chiung-chu, Li Wenling, Shu Hua, William E. Nagy, Ming Xiaojie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Described in this chapter is an initial attempt, perhaps the first ever, to engage children in the People’s Republic of China in Shared-Book reading. Shared-Book reading is one-way to expand the volume of reading of young children. In China, teaching reading is based on a long tradition of intensive reading of limited amounts of text using recitation, drill, practice, and memorization. The Shared-Book approach was adapted to accommodate the Chinese traditions of teaching, large class size, and the physical layout of classrooms and, yet, maintain fidelity to the essential features of the approach. A detailed description of a lesson with first graders in Beijing is presented along with principles for selection of children’s book and guidelines for teaching. On two-week delayed tests of vocabulary, the first graders were able to pronounce a high proportion of previously unfamiliar characters within the same context as the original story, a novel context, and in isolation. In a follow-up experiment across four classes, substantial vocabulary learning of first graders at two weeks was retained at eight weeks. The positive results and enthusiastic response of children and teachers are encouraging and worth continued research pursuit
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationChinese Children’s Reading Acquisition
EditorsLi Wenling, Janet S. Gaffney, Jerome L. Packard
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4615-0859-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-4613-5274-7
StatePublished - 2002


  • Shared-Book approach
  • volume of reading
  • vocabulary learning
  • pinyin


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