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Guided Reading

Guided Reading

Guided reading is an instructional reading strategy during which a teacher works with small groups of children who have similar reading needs. The teacher selects and introduces new books and passages that were carefully chosen to match the instructional levels of students and support whole text reading. Readers are carefully prepared when being introduced to a new text and various teaching points are made during and after reading.  Guided reading fosters comprehension skills and strategies, develops background knowledge and oral language skills, and provides as much instructional-level reading as possible.  During guided reading, students are given exposure to a wide variety of texts and are challenged to select from a growing repertoire of strategies that allow them to tackle new texts more independently.  Ongoing observation and assessment help teachers make instructional decisions and focus their lessons on the students’ reading needs. The grouping of students is flexible and may be changed often.

Comparison of Traditional and Guided Reading Groups

Traditional Reading Groups

Guided Reading Groups

Groups remain stable in composition.

Groups are dynamic, flexible, and change on a regular basis.

Students progress through a specific sequence of stories and skills.

Stories are chosen at appropriate level for each group; there is no prescribed sequence.

Introductions focus on new vocabulary.

Introductions focus on meaning with some attention to new and interesting vocabulary.

Skills practice follows reading.

Skills practice is embedded in shared reading.

Focus is on the lesson, not the student.

Focus is on the student, not the lesson.

Teacher follows prepared "script" from the teacher's guide.

Teacher and students actively interact with text.

Questions are generally limited to factual recall.

Questions develop higher order thinking skills and strategic reading.

Teacher is interpreter and checker of meaning.

Teacher and students interact with text to construct meaning.

Students take turns reading orally.

Students read entire text silently or with a partner.

Focus is on decoding words.

Focus is on understanding meaning.

Students respond to story in workbooks or on prepared worksheets.

Students respond to story through personal and authentic activities.

Readers are dependent on teacher direction and support.

Students read independently and confidently

Students are tested on skills and literal recall at the end of each story/unit.

Assessment is ongoing and embedded in instruction