Scaffolding Early Readers and Writers in Guided Reading

This is such a critical stage for young readers. Here are nine guided reading strategies you can use this week! Then we will look at three ways to connect writing in your guided reading lessons.

Guided reading is a valuable learning strategy for all readers and especially for early readers. Levels B-H represents the foundation for future reading success. Early readers and writers at these levels of learning rely on expert instruction techniques and learning strategies to progress. 

Early Readers

Early readers have learned most of their alphabet. They have discovered that print holds meaning just like pictures and talking. They are beginning to read silently, but require many supports to read for sustained periods of time.

Connecting reading and writing is a powerful learning strategy to use in guided reading lessons.

Early Writers

On the writing side of the language, students in these stages are beginning to link basic sentences together. Letters formation is fluent. They are building a bank of words they can write and are starting to notice writing craft techniques. They enjoy playing with conventions, and they attempt to reread their own writing.

Reading Strategies for Early Readers

Students will learn the most if you give them most of the responsibility in guided reading. Don't tell them what to do with the book. Give them the book, and ask, "What would a good reader do with this book?"

Their answers will tell you what instruction they need. Use this information to model for them during read aloud and shared reading. Create anchor charts from these readings. Let students keep a learning notebook.

When you come back to guided reading a day or two later, pose the same question. "What would a good reader do with this book?" If they struggle, point them to an anchor chart in the room. If you use note-taking, point them to their notes. 

Give early readers responsibility for deciding how to attack the book. Guide them in knowing how their choices will help them understand the text. Here are some questions to keep on hand:

  1. How do you know that?
  2. What do those letters say?
  3. What part of the word do you recognize?
  4. What did that sentence mean?
  5. What happened on that page?
  6. What do you think will happen next?
  7. The text says ____, what does that make you think?
  8. What picture are you seeing in your head when you read this page?

Reading Strategies for Early Writers

It's okay to make the writing connection in guided reading. Early writers are crafting 2-3 sentences. Some spelling is conventional. They are ready to learn to write from the texts they read!

Here are three ways to help early readers become stronger writers during guided reading.


1. Word Study

Students can keep a simple word journal for guided reading. When they struggle with decoding a word, have them write it down. Then they can split the word into syllables. Practice reading the word again. Cover it. Try to spell it from memory. Check it and correct any mistakes. Then go back to the text and reread the sentence!


2. Author's Craft

When certain words or phrase really stand out, have students discuss what was special about it. Then have them mimic the author by writing the same technique using their own sentence.


3. Reading Response

Use the text to spur thoughts about writing. Use prompts to get the students to think about the text and attempt to write a response:

--If you were the main character, what would you have done differently?

--What if this story was in your own house? How would the story change?

--What would you think the teacher would do if the teacher was in that story?


What strategies are you using this week in guided reading? Will you try one the suggestions above? If you'd like to read more about guided reading here are two suggestions:


Four Guided Reading Strategies

Eleven Scaffolding Techniques for Any Classroom

Looking for reading comprehension strategies? Here's a post on summarizing strategies.