Guided reading is conducted with a smaller number of students and focuses more on the individual reading needs of the child. Using benchmark assessments or other systematic observation, the teacher has determined the approximate instructional reading level of each of the students. During guided reading, teachers work with students at their instructional level to guide them in using the context, visual, and structure cues with stories to generate meaning. By using instructional level texts that gradually increase in difficulty, students apply strategies in context.
What are the elements of a guided reading lesson?
Although the conversation, text, and teaching points will vary from level to level and group to group, the basic structure of a guided reading lesson is essentially the same:
- You introduce the text to the students in a brief conversation about the meaning, language, and features of the text. During this conversation you clarify some of the language or provide other vital information students will need to process the text with understanding, explain a few difficult words or concepts, and help the children notice a few important words. You then turn the text over to the students to read for themselves.
- Each student reads the text (or a unified part of the text) softly or silently to himself or herself. You "listen in" to individuals and sometimes interact to support reading. After reading, you and the students discuss the meaning of the text and revisit the text as necessary. You may have explicit teaching points based on what you observed as students processed the text.
- (Optional) You may wish to extend students' understanding of the text through writing, drawing, diagrams (graphic organizers), extended discussion, partner discussion, readers theater, etc.
- (Optional) You may want to engage children in one or two minutes of preplanned "word work" using magnetic letters, individual whiteboards, writing paper, a chart, or other ways of displaying and illustrating principles. This work builds automaticity and flexibility in solving words and word parts. (http://www.fountasandpinnellleveledbooks.com/Authorized/welcomeFeatures.aspx#guidedReading)