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What is Guided Reading? (Part 4: Reading the New Book with Support From The Teacher)


   The six steps of a guided reading lesson:

   1. Assess each student’s reading level

   2. Select a book for the group

   3. Provide students with an overview or a book introduction

   4. Have all students read the book (with help from the teacher)   

   5. Discuss the story

   6. Do one or two follow-up teaching points

Michele Dufresne

In my previous posts, I talked about assessing students to help you make decisions about creating leveled groups for guided reading, selecting a book for the group, and planning the book introduction. Here I will discuss the next step – supporting the students as they read the new book.

After you have provided the students with a book introduction, it is time for all of the children to read the book. This is not “round robin” reading. Each child reads at the same time. This can seem chaotic at first. Ask the students to read in soft voices. Rotate around the table and listen to the children read. Give support as needed. At first, beginners will listen to each other and it sometimes becomes more like a shared reading experience. Encourage them to read on their own. If the book has been selected well and the book introduction took into account the new and challenging places, the students will be able to read with a high degree of accuracy. When students make a mistake, encourage them to notice that they made the mistake (this behavior is called self-monitoring) and to attempt to correct the error (searching for more information). Praise students for self-monitoring and attempting to correct their errors. Be less focused on accuracy and more on the process the students are engaged in. You also want to encourage students to read in a phrased and fluent manner. This improves comprehension and allows students to better anticipate the language in the text.

This video shows the teacher moving around the teaching table listening to each child read and doing just a little bit of teaching as the students read a new book.

Another example of supporting students while they read can be found in a video we saw last week. I have marked the spot in the video where she stops her book introduction and starts giving help to the students as they begin to read the new book.

Guided ReadingPrompting Guide Card SetAn easy, teacher-friendly resource to help you think about the strategies to prompt for as you observe and support students reading is the Prompting Guide Card Set. The cards are organized by level and provide suggestions for teaching actions that will help you support students' learning. The Prompting Guide Card Set also includes a Scale of Help card to use when prompting the student to look for known features and to search for what she or he already knows.

Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell have a section in their book, The Continuum of Literacy Learning, Grades K-2, which outlines behaviors and understandings to notice, teach, and support. This resource can be helpful for thinking about teaching during the reading of a new book. Focus on the section in the Guided Reading chapter called "Teaching Within The Text."

In my next post, I will go over discussing the story.

Michèle Dufresne is author of many Pioneer Valley Books  early readers (including the Bella and Rosie series), Word Solvers (Heinemann), and an early literacy and literacy intervention consultant.

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