There is so much to know to make Guided Reading really work. It can be overwhelming to both Guided Reading beginners and veterans.
The questions we ask ourselves often determine what we focus on and, ultimately, our success. To produce better results with each Guided Reading lesson, start with asking better questions. Read on to find out what those questions are.
6 Questions to Ask Yourself
A great Guided Reading lesson doesn’t happen automatically. It requires knowledge, skill, and the willingness and patience to learn as we go and evolve. Self-assessment is part of this process. Here are six questions to ask each day to continue to get good results from Guided Reading:
- Why am I doing Guided Reading?
The goal of Guided Reading is to instill in children a true love of reading. The teachers who accomplish the most with Guided Reading know this. This allows them to start each lesson with clarity and purpose—and committed to turning reading into fun.
- Have I placed the right students in the right group?
This is essential to the success of any small group. Get this wrong and even the most experienced teacher won’t be able to accomplish much. Where to start? Take the time to look at the data to determine student reading levels. Then, group students according to their reading levels, their skills, and how they solve problems when reading. Shoot for four students per group, and no more than six.
- Have I selected an appropriate text?
In general, students should be reading level-appropriate material. Selection should be based on several criteria: The student’s age or stage of reading development, whether students will be reading orally or independently, and evaluation of the actual text. In addition, a teacher can actually listen to a student read and adjust accordingly. Keep in mind, too, that the text should give every student the opportunity to engage. Too easy and the kids won’t care; too difficult and they’ll get frustrated.
- Have I identified a strategy to teach today?
It doesn’t matter if the small groups are formed correctly, the right text is selected, and children are engaged. Teachers must focus on teaching specific strategies to maximize their long-term results. Make sure each lesson supports readers in solving problems they may face, such as tackling new words or comprehending complex text.
- Is my lesson structured correctly?
Every classroom is different. But, in general, all Guided Reading lessons should flow the same way. Teachers will ask students to read books they are familiar with and observe them and make notes while they are doing so. They will introduce the new text by walking students through the book’s format and getting them thinking about what’s inside. Each student should read quietly or silently and then be encouraged to talk about what they notice and to think deeply about the book. Throughout the lesson, the teacher is always listening closely and offering a few instructional tips based on observation.
- How can I better assess my readers?
This is a big question, and there isn’t one single answer. It’s helpful to keep track of a student’s progress using a variety of assessment tools. Keep a running record as students read text during Guided Reading. Assess how well they can re-tell the text they read. Observe each child as they read independently to the group. And, ask students questions about the text to assess their comprehension.
Of course, these six questions aren’t a magic pill that will solve Guided Reading problems just by asking them. They must be followed up by purposeful, consistent action. Nothing changes if nothing changes. Take the next step today!
Gain a deeper understanding of how Guided Reading techniques can make reading more meaningful. Check out SDE’s webinar Zany, Brainy Strategies for Emergent Guided Reading (K–2) by reading expert Maria Banks.