WHAT IS GUIDED READING?
Guided reading is an instructional approach that involves a teacher
working with a small group of students who demonstrate similar
reading behaviors and can all read similar levels of texts. The text is easy
enough for students to read with your skillful support. The text offers
challenges and opportunities for problem solving, but is easy enough for
students to read with some fluency. You choose selections that help students
expand their strategies.
What is the purpose of guided reading?
You select books that students can read with about 90 percent accuracy.
Students can understand and enjoy the story because it’s accessible to them
through their own strategies, supported by your introduction. They focus on
meaning but use problem-solving strategies to figure out words they don’t
know, deal with difficult sentence structure, and understand concepts
or ideas they have never before encountered in print.
Why is guided reading important?
Guided reading gives students the chance to apply the strategies they already
know to new text. You provide support, but the ultimate goal is independent
When are children ready for guided reading?
Developing readers have already gained important understandings about how
print works. These students know how to monitor their own reading. They
have the ability to check on themselves or search for possibilities and
alternatives if they encounter a problem when reading. For these readers, the
guided reading experience is a powerful way to support the development of
The ultimate goal of guided reading is reading a variety of texts with ease and
deep understanding. Silent reading means rapid processing of texts with most
attention on meaning, which is achieved as readers move past beginning
levels (H, I, J). At all levels, students read orally with fluency and phrasing.
Matching Books to Readers
The teacher selects a text for a small group of students who are similar in their
reading behaviors at a particular point in time. In general, the text is about
right for students in the group. It is not too easy, yet not too hard, and offers
a variety of challenges to help readers become flexible problem solvers. You
should choose Guided Reading Program books for students that:
• match their knowledge base.
• are interesting to them.
• help them take the next step in
• offer just enough challenge to support learning to read. problem solving while still supporting fluency and meaning.
Supporting Students’ Reading
In working with students in guided reading, you constantly balance the
difficulty of the text with support for students reading the text. You introduce
the story to the group, support individuals through brief interactions while
they read, and guide them to talk together afterwards about the words and
ideas in the text. In this way, you refine text selection and help individual
readers move forward in developing a reading process.
Good readers employ a wide range of word-solving strategies, including
analysis of sound-letter relationships and word parts. They must figure out
words that are embedded in different kinds of texts. Reading a variety of
books enables them to go beyond reading individual words to interpreting
language and its subtle meanings.
For more specific teaching suggestions, see individual cards for each
Procedure for Guided Reading
• The teacher works with a small group of students with similar needs.
• The teacher provides introductions to the text that support children’s later
attempts at problem solving.
• Each student reads the whole text or a unified part of the text.
• Readers figure out new words while reading for meaning.
• The teacher prompts, encourages, and confirms students’ attempts at
• The teacher and student engage in meaningful conversations about
what they are reading.
• The teacher and student revisit the text to demonstrate and use a range of