Welcome to Teacher Talk, where our authors 'talk' early literacy with teachers. You'll find practical classroom strategies and tips from real educators, as well as personal stories and innovative approaches to improving your teaching practice.
- Guided reading is a small group opportunity to support readers as they apply known reading strategies. David Hornsby, in A Closer Look at Guided Reading (2000), describes guided reading as a time when “the teacher helps the children use strategies they already know so that they are able to read an unfamiliar text independently, with success.” Those reading strategies have been modeled and demonstrated during whole class read-aloud and shared reading. During guided reading, the intentional use of wait time by the teacher encourages the use of reading strategies. When children are developing as readers, the use of reading strategies is slower and less automatic, meaning students require more time for processing. Teachers who wait when students make an error, rather than immediately giving a correct word or automatically prompting a strategy to try, provide students the opportunity to self-monitor and self-correct. This is when learning to be a strategic reader occurs.
- Close reading and guided reading can exist in the same instructional environment. By reading closely in guided reading, a reader is encouraged to apply all their known understandings about how texts work to figure out meanings the text brings into existence. When close reading of a text is viewed as comprehending a text in an intentional manner, it can be powerful within the context of guided reading.
- In Shared Reading, Students Learn What They Later Apply in Guided Reading Shared reading and guided reading lie alongside each other within a gradual release of responsibility model of instruction. One of the key ways guided reading instruction differs from other small reading groups is through this relationship to shared reading instruction.
- When It Comes to High Frequency Words, Context Is Key in Guided Reading Texts! The use of high-frequency words in guided reading texts offers young readers multiple opportunities to learn these words as a component of an effective reading process. When developing readers learn high-frequency words in context, their abilities to recognize these words by sight supports them becoming confident, accurate, and fluent readers.
- Guided reading presents a unique opportunity for students to learn academic vocabulary if the guided reading books are written about engaging topics in ways that make academic vocabulary interesting and accessible. Students love learning “big” or “fancy” terminology for things and they will use academic vocabulary confidently if those terms have context to supply meaning and the terms have been used in a supportive discussion.
- What Guided Reading Practices Contribute to Fluency?
Building fluency during guided reading is essential for developing readers. Fluency is often defined by reading rate, but also includes pausing, phrasing, stress, and intonation, all of which are related to meaning. There are several ways fluency is built during guided reading.
- There are several ways in which activities that extend guided reading increase the powerful learning that comes through guided reading instruction. First, the very best activity to extend guided reading into independent work is to make the book available to students to read after the small group instruction has concluded. As students revisit the book on their own or with a partner, they solidify the learning that was coached in guided reading. With this kind of guided reading extension, they orchestrate things they might not have had quite under control during the lesson. For example, when an early emergent student reading at Levels A-B rereads a text, they practice the important integration of cueing systems as they look from the illustrations to the words, match their fingers to the words being read aloud and then consider each word for how it matches what they know the pattern to say.
- Guided reading and balanced literacy are big ideas in literacy instruction today. The function of different approaches in a balanced curriculum offers teachers opportunities to illustrate literacy for learners along a continuum of gradual release of responsibility. Reading to, with, and by children and teachers gives comparative amounts of support and responsibility throughout the instructional day, and over time, as students grow as readers and writers (Margaret Mooney, 1990).
- Grouping students for guided reading first requires that teachers ‘know their students.’ Teachers assess their students, using the tools they know—letter/sound checks, a fluency passage, a benchmarking kit. Yet somehow, when teachers put the students together, the grouping just doesn’t seem to be quite ‘right.’ Something is missing—and the missing piece is teacher observation. Teacher observation is key in grouping students for guided reading.