This study investigates explanatory discourse within the setting of shared reading at kindergarten. It reports on a qualitative study of 36 whole-class shared reading sessions at three Dutch kindergartens with children aged between 4 and 6 years. The videotaped shared reading sessions are transcribed and analysed according to the methodology of conversation analysis. It will be shown that explanatory discourse in whole-class shared reading sessions gets established by orientation to an object of attention from a picture book that might need an explanation. Additionally, it will be illustrated that once a first explanation has been given, this might turn into a longer set of explanatory sequences that can be characterised by either an instructional or a discussion framework. Participating in explanatory discourse during shared reading enables pupils to practice providing explanations for events or behaviour that transcend their own experiences.