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What is Guided Reading? (Part 6: Follow-up teaching)


   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, planning the book introduction, supporting the students as they read the new book, and discussing the story following the reading. Here I will explore follow-up teaching to do after the discussion. 

As you listen to and support students as they read a new book, you will notice places where students make errors and/or attempt to problem solve. Try to take a few notes because observing this behavior will help you decide what to review and teach after the students finish reading. Pick 1- 2 items and spend only a couple minutes on them with your students. If you try to do more, the message will get cloudy.

Which aspects are important to cover? Perhaps the students did some good problem solving. You will want to reinforce this behavior. Ask the students to look back at the page in the text. Talk about how the student solved the tricky part and praise the child for his/her good work. There may have been a tricky place where many students struggled. Return to that page and ask them to read it again and find the tricky word. Talk about how they might solve the word.

In Jan Richardson’s book, The Next Step in Guided Reading: Focused Assessments and Targeted Lessons for Helping Every Student Become a Better Reader, she outlines teaching points for early emergent through transitional levels that can be very helpful in planning and thinking about what to focus on for your teaching points.

For levels A-B (level 1-2), I suggest focusing on:

• Providing a solid core of vocabulary.

• Teaching students to self-monitor using vocabulary they know.

• Establishing one-to-one matching.

• Teaching early cross-checking (i.e., the first letter with the picture or meaning of the story). 

For levels C-D (levels 3-6), focus on:

• Teaching students to problem solve by rereading and making the first sound of the tricky word. 

• Reinforcing self-monitoring skills while teaching students to decode new words with endings (i.e., looking and played. Show them how to cover the ending with their finger). 

• Working on fluency, reading the story with more expression, and reading without a reading finger. 

For levels E-I (levels 7-16), you want to focus on:

• Helping students develop strategies for solving unknown words (i.e., breaking words into parts or determining if a particular word looks like another word they know).

• Continuing to reinforce self-monitoring for meaning, visual information, and language structure.

As you move into higher-level text with students, your sessions will need to shift toward teaching strategies for story comprehension and teaching strategies for decoding new vocabulary.

Most importantly, make your teaching crisp and powerful. This is not a time to fix up every mistake but a time to help students develop a strong processing system.

I hope you have found my What is Guided Reading? series to be a helpful resource. If you would like to share this with others and return to it to read again you can bookmark the series for easy reference. The blue box at the top right offers extra navigation on the rest of the posts. If you have other suggestions for topics you'd like to read in this blog, use the Pioneer Valley Books online contact form.

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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