Conversation Analysis of Shared Reading with Students who Have Significant Support Needs

Nancy Quick, Ph.D. CCC-SLP
Penelope Hatch, Ph.D. CCC-SLP
Karen Erickson, Ph.D.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Shared reading focuses on the interaction between an adult and one or more children as they experience a book together. While research has documented classroom shared reading practices among students with diverse characteristics, few have focused on students with significant support needs. Using a conversation-analytic approach, this study sought to describe the teacher strategies that scaffolded successful interactions during shared reading in two self-contained classrooms serving students with significant support needs. Instances of teachers maximizing student participation, promoting connections with the text, maximizing multiple turn interactions, and encouraging students to take the lead were analyzed. Subsequent conversation analysis revealed that a variety of strategies supported students with significant support needs in interactions during shared reading, such as asking open ended questions, commenting, repeating and expanding student comments, modeling text-to-self connections, and providing think time. The implications for applying such strategies during shared reading with students with significant support needs are discussed.

Keywords: secondary, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, shared reading, communication, conversation analysis

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