Fluency, Literacy, reading

Guided Reading

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 3.43.29 PMYou voted and guided reading won! So this post is dedicated to that. Before we begin, I want to talk about what guided reading is and what it is not. Guided reading can look different in every class. In my classroom, guided reading time is the most important block of ELA and it is where I am teaching kids how to read. I teach them phonological awareness, graphophonemic awareness, and the six critical comprehension skills. My kids who are fluent readers do not get guided reading. With them, I do small group instruction. Small group instruction focuses on the standards that kids need to master like author’s purpose, context clues, summary, and main idea. Guided reading is not round robin reading, choral reading, or fluency practice. This is the time where I give my students what they need to become fluent, successful readers.

So what does guided reading look like?

In my class, I pull 3-5 kids to my horseshoe table. These groups are determined by reading level and abilities. These groups are also flexible and will change. We use a  text that is on their instructional reading level. All students will have the same text. I prefer to use Reading A-Z for my text selection! My guided reading lesson templates look different for each group. For this post I am going to focus on kids who can decode but struggle with comprehension. I refer to these students as “fluent” because they can decode fluently. This is roughly Rigby levels 17-25. Click here to see a text correlation chart.

Screen Shot 2016-08-03 at 3.43.11 PMNow, lets break down what happens when the kids are sitting in front of me with their books. The first thing we do is a picture walk. Students will make connections and predictions about the text we are reading. I use my making connections question strips for this. I have students write down their prediction or thinking on a sticky note. After making connections/predictions, I will then introduce the text. I give a 1-2 sentence summary of the text. Then I will introduce any difficult vocabulary that students will encounter. I say the word, students repeat me, then I define the word and use it in context. I set the purpose for reading and then students begin. I have all students begin by silently reading, then I pick one student to read out loud. While they are reading I am taking anecdotal notes. I pay attention to the skills they apply while reading and note what they struggle with. I will also ask questions while one student reads to ensure they are understanding what is being read. It is important that during guided reading students do not round robin read. I will then let the student continue to read silently and select another student.When students are reading aloud, I adjust and correct immediately. I use the errors that they make as teachable moments.

Once students have read the book or the pages for that day, we go back and look at pages that were difficult. We discuss vocabulary and I ask targeted specific questions. I note the difficult pages in my guided reading lesson plan and I plan the questions I want to ask. After questioning, I will wrap-up by having them correct or change their prediction.

This is what works for me in my classroom. Guided reading can look different depending on the students needs. The most important thing is that you are using this time to give the instruction that may have been missed in earlier grades. The goal is to get students reading! You can see my guided reading and small group instruction templates by clicking here.

Commonly asked questions:

What do I do if one student finishes reading before the others?

I tell my students to go back and re-read the text or I have them write 2-3 questions they had while reading.

What are my other students doing during this time?

In my classroom my students work off of a reading menu. It is important to establish procedures for students before beginning guided reading. The work needs to be meaningful and not just a time filler.

How long should guided reading or small group instruction last?

I meet with my groups for 15-20 minutes at a time. At my school I have one hour for guided reading so I will meet with three groups a day.

How often should you meet with your groups?

I meet my students who have the greatest needs on a daily basis.  The more fluent students and small group instruction students get to meet with me a minimum of 2 times a week.

What other questions do you have? Please comment below!

4 thoughts on “Guided Reading”

  1. Few questions: why should you never do choral reading? What does your reading menu look like? Are your students reading chapter books during your guide reading or just passages hitting the skill you are covering?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Daisy 🙂 Thank you so much for taking the time to read the post and respond! I hope my answers help.

      1) When students choral read, sometimes the stronger reader in the group can lead and the others will follow. So the kids following are just copying the “lead voice”. I want to hear students authentic reading and the mistakes that they make so I can help them. Therefore, I always have them read one at a time out loud while the others are reading silently.

      2) I am in love with menus! I use them in math and reading. The students also love them because they have choices in what they do! I am currently working on creating my menus for this school year. As soon as I have one created I will share them on my TpT store (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Dara-Bee) as a freebie 🙂

      3) I have my students use leveled readers from Reading A-Z. These are not chapter books. I know that some teachers do use chapter books at the guided reading table though. I just prefer leveled readers for guided time. I save chapter books and novels for my literature circles. I also don’t use passages during guided reading. I would save passages for my small group instruction when I am focusing on a reading standard.

      – Dara


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