Get guided reading ideas and learn more about how to teach guided reading in your classroom with these lesson plans, articles, and blog posts.
If you work with kindergarten, first grade, or second grade children, you may be familiar with or just discovering "guided reading" as a strategy to help your students become good readers. Guided reading is one component of a four-block reading program, developed by Pat Cunningham and Dottie Hall, which consists of self-selected reading, shared reading, writing, and working with words.
Guided reading is one component of the shared reading block during which the teacher provides support for small, flexible groups of beginning readers. The teacher helps students learn to use reading strategies, such as context clues, letter and sound knowledge, and syntax or word structure, as they read a text or book that is unfamiliar to them. The goal of guided reading is for students to use these strategies independently on their way to becoming fluent, skilled readers.
The steps for a guided reading lesson are:
Before reading: Set the purpose for reading, introduce vocabulary, make predictions, talk about the strategies good readers use.
During reading: Guide students as they read, provide wait time, give prompts or clues as needed by individual students, such as "Try that again. Does that make sense? Look at how the word begins."
After reading: Strengthen comprehension skills and provide praise for strategies used by students during the reading.
The steps of a guided reading lesson will vary according to the needs of the students in the flexible group. As teachers become more comfortable planning and leading guided reading lessons, they will also become more skilled in structuring the lesson to best meet those students' needs.
Flexible groupings are based on student abilities and needs. There are various ways to determine a child's ability level, such as running records, print tests, and teacher observations. Since students progress at different levels, the teacher will need to have a plan for ongoing observation and assessment to track student growth, select appropriate texts, and to regroup students as their needs change. Again, teacher observations and running records can provide valuable information.
A wide variety of books at different ability levels, sometimes called "leveled texts," are necessary so that the teacher can fit the book to the group. Teachers should choose books that are easy enough for independent reading, meet the instructional goals for the group, and are interesting and motivating to students. As students become more skilled at using a range of reading strategies, the ability level of the texts used in guided reading lessons can be increased. Previously read texts should always be available so that students can reread them independently, with a partner, or at home as they become fluent, confident, and self-motivated readers.
Your Complete Guide to Next Step Forward Teaching
With The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading and The Guided Reading Teachers Companion, you get all the planning and instructional tools you need to teach guided reading well, from pre-A to fluent, organized around Jan Richardson's proven Assess-Decide-Guide framework.
- Includes access to an online resource bank with dozens of downloadable assessment and record-keeping forms, lesson plan templates, and more than 40 short videos showing Jan modeling key parts of guided reading lessons for every stage
- The convenient flip chart guide helps teachers easily find prompts, discussion starters, and teaching points
Guided Reading Toolkit
An essential resource for any teacher looking for support in the effective implementation of guided reading, the Guided Reading Toolkit features strategies for classroom management, direct connections to current standards, assessment, and resources for working with struggling readers and ELLs. Best of all, there’s a website with videos modeling guided reading.