Sunday, May 31, 2015

Take A Closer Look At Guided Reading!

The last in a six part series on guided reading

In past guided reading lessons we have looked at finding guided reading materials, doing running records, keeping the rest of the class constructively busy, creating a schedule and getting ready for the guided reading session. So, actually conducting the guided reading lesson is the core of it all. How can we do it in the most constructive way possible, that is the best use of our time and that of our students? The ideas below might give you a few ideas! Keep in mind that I am no guided reading guru...just a teacher who has done guided reading for a long time!

1. Always start by asking a group to come to the reading table and take a book from the review basket to read for about five minutes or so. The review basket should be filled with books that have already been read by that particular reading group in earlier guided reading sessions. This is important in the guided reading process, as re-reading builds fluency. This is also a good time to do a running record or two on students who may need one. Each guided reading group will need their own basket of books.

2.  Introduce the new guided reading book, story or chapter book you are using. Introduce the vocabulary and give a short one-sentence idea of what the book, chapter or story is about. Take a picture walk and make predictions about the story. Build any background knowledge students may not have, and set a purpose for reading. Ask any "before you read" questions at this time. Assign a portion of the story, or chapter to be read silently.

3.  Ask students to whisper read the section. When they whisper read you know they are actually reading. Tell them it is not a race, and if they finish reading early they should re-read the selection again for fluency. For older students, you may not choose to have them whisper read. This is a preference based on the needs of the group. This is a good time to go from student to student and ask each to whisper read a little louder, so you can hear them read. This is a perfect time to see what strategies they are using, help them use new strategies you have taught, and get ideas on new lessons that may need to be taught directly to the group.

4.  Once everyone has read the selection, have a discussion about what has been read so far. This would be the time to use "While you read" questions. Finish reading the selection silently stopping now and again for questions and insights. Once the slection is finished, discuss "after you read" questions.

5. To include oral reading you can incorporate any of the following during guided reading:
a. Choral reading: Read a selection as a group. Choral reading is helpful for struggling readers as it gives support in numbers, helps with fluency and in vocabulary attainment. 
b. Echo reading: One person (teacher) reads a sentence or phrase with feeling while the rest of the group follows along, then echoes the reading orally. This is very useful for younger students.
c. Paired reading: read short section in groups of two.
d. There are other ways to incorporate oral reading. If you haven't had the chance to read "Good-bye Round Robin: 25 Effective Oral Reading Strategies" by Opitz and Rasinski, you can pick it for a few dollars on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. It is an amazing book (and short)...just sayin'

It is not imperitive that the entire selection is read orally, as long as students get the chance to read at least some of it orally.

6. Go over the words students had difficulty with. Using highlighter tape as students read to cover problem words as they read makes this easier.

7. Present a 5 minute lesson on a strategy appropriate to the group. Give students a worksheet or activity to work on at their desk. The worksheet is due at the next session. Remind students to keep the worksheet in their guided reading folder.

8. Make any notes on what you noticed in the guided reading session, as well as next steps for this group.

9. I often do not have time to finish an entire lesson in one reading group session. There is nothing wrong with taking two sessions to complete a lesson if your group needs the time. This is one thing that I have found that causes teachers the biggest to get everything in during one session. Be kind to yourself and make guided reading work for yourself and your kids...use two days if you need to.

If you need lesson plan forms for guided reading, you might like one of the following ideas. They are downloadable in  If they aren't exactly what you like, they may be able to give you an idea of two.

To read other lessons in this series see:

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