Guided Reading is appropriate for any grade level and is part of a balanced literacy program. Even as adults, we gain skills to understand new or difficult texts (epubs, infographics, poetry, microblogging). Guided reading helps educators differentiate in the classroom and aims to “develop independent readers who question, consider alternatives, & make informed choices.” – Mooney
By the time students enter the third grade, they have decoding skills and guided reading is used to provide explicit instruction to develop powerful readers. Reading is understanding! And through guided reading students continue to add strategies to their toolbox that will help them understand any difficult text they encounter.
Before starting guided reading:
- Establish routines that support independent work and classroom management so small groups can be pulled for instruction.
- Identify groups of 5 or 6 students that read at the same instructional level or who have similar strategy needs.
- Groups are temporary and dynamic, based on need and should be changed when assessment and behavior dictate.
- Older students are less likely to display reading behavior because most processing is done automatically and unconsciously, but they are able to write and talk about their understanding and reading processes better than younger students.
Once groups have been established:
- Select text based on the instructional level of readers.
- Introduce the text, modeling strategies good readers use to understand what they read.
- Students read the whole text or designated portion of a longer piece. This is done independently and silently. During this time, teachers can observe and note reading behaviors, have individual students read a portion orally, work with another small group or conference with individual students.
- When the everyone is done reading, students discuss the text with the support of the teacher.
- Based on notes or the discussion, the teacher models 1 or 2 strategies students need and then apply to the text.
- Two optional guided reading components include an extension activity. Students continue learning through writing activities, sketchnoting, or even a multimedia response. Word work is another option that could take place after the text is read.
Guided reading is effective and efficient to boost student achievement in the area of reading comprehension. Often it is met with hesitation, educators are unsure of how it “looks” in the classroom. Following the framework above helps to alleviate those fears providing structure to a powerful balanced literacy component.
Source: Fountas and Pinnell