Implementing a Guided Reading Program

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Check Out the New Blog A guided reading program works when the reading skills of the different students in the group are similar. The guided approach provides challenges for the students, while at the same time ensures that every student is able to read the text with fluency.

It is important that the text is carefully selected, bearing in mind the abilities of the students in the group. The groups are generally small in number, with just 4 to 6 students. This makes it easier to focus on the development of each student, and allows the teacher to monitor and guide the students individually. The groups also often consist of students from different grades but with the same reading level.

The guided reading program that is generally for around 15 to 20 minutes starts with an introductory session where the teacher introduces the book, establishes its background and provides the students with some prior knowledge on the subject. The book is then read aloud by each student, in turns. The teacher responds to each student’s reading, dishing out praise as well as giving them useful tips to improve. The teacher may also collect notes on the students’ skills and abilities.

After the reading, the teacher leads the students into a discussion, with questions like ‘What were you thinking as you read?’ as well as focusing on words that the students struggled with. It is important that the students reflect on themselves as readers and question how they are meeting their goals.

Additional activities could include identifying important words, writing an outline of the text, or drawing pictures of important parts of the text. You can use any other creative ideas to help improve interaction with the text.

Students are generally not expected to show progress at the beginning of the program or the starting of a book. Also keep in mind that, students should make their way through both fiction and non-fiction categories before they are bumped to a higher reading level.

Guided reading is a great strategy to help increase motivation and interest toward reading. Putting students in the right group, and choosing the right text will directly influence the effectiveness of the program.

Have you used guided reading in your classroom? Share your experiences.

Learn more about reading strategies through Professional Learning Board’s course for online continuing education and professional development: Reading Across the Curriculum and Tackling Tough Text

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