Guided Reading Strategies

Posted on Posted in Reading, Strategies

It's not new. Sit with a small group of students. Give them a challenging text. Support them as they work through it.

Over the years guided reading has taken on various coats and appearances, but we know one thing for sure. It works.

It works because it puts the learning in the hands of the students. Guided reading puts the learners near the teacher. The students receive feedback on their learning immediately. Then they try out the teacher's feedback. However, some methods of guided reading really work better than others.

Here are four ways to blast out of traditional guided reading lessons and into next generation guided reading.


1. Skip Whole Class Lessons

Just be done with the whole class lesson. Struggling students don't get much from it. Accelerated students don't need it at that length and detail. For them, just explain, model in read alouds, model in shared reading, and they're off!

Move the direct instruction into your guided reading. Extend the guided reading time from 10-15 minutes to 20 minutes. Spend the first 5 minutes using a task card that allows you to explicitly teach a skill or strategy. Use a second task card to let students apply what you just taught. Then move into the text for the remaining 15 minutes.

That will give you way more impact for your time!


2. Stop Talking & Telling

It's guided reading, not show and tell. That means stop telling them what to do. Telling creates dependence. The purpose of guided reading is to create independent readers. Guided reading is their chance to read with your support nearby.

Give them the text. Tell them to use what they know - use what you've taught them. If they don't know what to do with the text, great! Now you know what to teach them tomorrow...reading strategies.

Then listen to them work through the text. Listen to their connection, questions, and predictions. Your role is to guide. Help them become independent readers. Help them use what you've taught.

Strategies 3 & 4 below...


These four guided reading strategies will increase you teaching impact!


3. Embed Reciprocal Teaching Strategies

The research is clear - reciprocal teaching is one of the strongest strategies to produce student learning. It makes sense to guide students through the reciprocal process. With your guidance, students will internalize four strategies that all good readers use:

  1. Predict - what do you think will happen next?
  2. Clarify - what part gave you a hard time?
  3. Question - what questions do you have before and after reading this?
  4. Summarize - can you tell what that was mostly about?

You can help students lead their own reciprocal reading groups. Only a few weeks is needed (depending on age). Then students can use these strategies with peers without your support. The ultimate aim would be for independent readers to use these reading strategies.


4. Focus on Inferential Thinking

Yes, it is difficult. Most students can tell you the literal meaning of what they read. They can literally retell the details. But inferential thinking is more challenging.

Predicting, inferring, and drawing conclusions require students to think beyond the text. What better time is there for students to be asked tough inferential questions than right there in your guided reading group?

Too many questions are focused on word meaning and literal recall. This is the time to let students practice the tough comprehension skills. You are there to support. With your help, they will build these skills!

More reading Teaching Summarizing and free Reading Level Chart.

Have a bigger impact with your readers by using these Visible Learning Strategies!


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