Teaching all students how to read is a priority in our schools. But how can we accomplish this goal when our classes are made up of students on such diverse levels? Trying to meet the needs of all students can be a challenge to any teacher. Guided reading helps teachers tailor instruction to meet each student’s specific reading needs. Read on as I share some helpful tips on implementing guided reading lessons in your classrooms.
Guided reading is an approach used by teachers to meet the various instructional needs of all students in the classroom. The goal of guided reading is not to teach a selected book, but to teach students reading strategies they can apply to all books.
My guided reading lessons allow me to work with small groups of students at similar levels of development. I use texts that are carefully matched to each group’s unique needs. During my guided reading lessons, I provide instructional support to build reading strategies and increase independence. I have six different guided reading groups in my class. I try to meet with two to three groups a day. Each group is assigned a color and called to meet with me during literacy stations and centers. I also use a notebook to record student progress. My guided reading lessons generally last 20 to 30 minutes. The goal of my lessons is to help students become confident, proficient readers who love to read.
Let’s take a look at three steps you need to take to implement a great guided reading lesson in your class.
Determine your objective for the lesson. I teach the same reading strategies using various leveled texts. Here are some of the skills and strategies I use during guided reading instruction:
Select reading materials that match the instructional level of your student groups. Visit Scholastic for various leveled books you can use during your guided reading instruction.
Plan before-reading, during-reading, and after-reading activities.
Build Background — Look at the cover of the book and ask your students what they think the book will be about. Predicting is a great way to set the purpose for reading. During this time I also use the cover of the book to guide my students in making connections to their own experiences and previous reading.
After reading the text, I do a short mini-lesson with my students. This is the time when I focus on the strategies and/or skills I’ve selected for the lesson.
Have these tools handy during guiding reading instruction:
Two great books I’ve used as a reference when doing guided reading instruction are Guided Reading: Making It Work and The Next Step in Guiding Reading. I've also found a wealth of instructional resources in Scholastic's guided reading site.