Guided Reading

In guided reading a group of students read a text which has been selected by the teacher, and explore the text together through discussion, with the teacher's support and encouragement. The teacher's role is crucial. The teacher selects the text, introduces it and guides the students as they talk, read, and think their way through the text.

The key objectives of a guided reading session are:

Guided Reading helps to develop in students:

The teacher needs to know the attitudes, skills, and interests of the students well, in order to select a text which is at an appropriate level of challenge for each student.

Steps in the Process of Guided Reading

  1. Preparation
    A wide range of text forms are suitable for guided reading - stories, poems, articles, reports, recounts, descriptions, instructions, explanations, arguments, extracts from magazines or newspapers, picture books, cross curricula texts, extracts from novels.

    The teacher should:

    • plan how the text should be introduced
    • think about the questions that will encourage the students to think critically and discuss issues/ideas
    • think about the follow up activity that will extend the reading of the text
    • plan something for those who finish first eg other books on the topic to read/browse, maps to explore, a dictionary, a thesaurus
    • think about purposeful activities for the rest of the class.

  2. Introducing the Text
    This will vary depending on the text selected. The discussion may be based on:
    • student's recent experiences
    • a particular theme or topic
    • title, illustrations
    • the author
    • the opening sentence(s)

    Students should be encouraged to:

    • plan and ask questions
    • make predictions about the text to be read
    • discuss their expectations of the text

  3. Reading the text
    Students read the text silently to themselves. The teacher observes the students as they read, noting problems or difficulties that need to be followed up later.

  4. Responding to and discussing the text

    This is a very important step. The discussion should not be rushed. The discussion should not be just a question and answer session.

    The students and the teacher:

    • reflect on their predictions.
    • consider different points of view
    • clarify any difficulties with vocabulary
    • ask questions - allow time for students to think and answer questions
    • examine text features and language structures
    • validate points by returning to the text.
    References such as dictionaries, thesauri and atlases should always be available.

  5. Follow up
    Follow up activities to extend students' understanding of the text may be valuable. However, the reading and the discussion may be enough in itself.

    An effective guided reading session gives the teacher the opportunity to:

    • observe and find out about the skills the students are using or need to develop
    • decide how successful the lesson was in developing close reading skills
    • plan further lessons based on the needs and interests of the students.