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How to Get Started with Guided Reading

Guided reading is the most engaging way you can teach children to learn to read. In a group of five or six students, you can implement many reading skills. From how to pronounce to motivating children to read, guided reading groups are essential in early childhood education.

How do you develop effective ways to ensure guided reading is successful? While there are many educational programs, you need to consider consistent steps that can help.

Most likely, you have a wide variety of children from different cultural backgrounds and learning styles. So, use guided reading groups to assess, monitor, and develop lifelong reading skills in students to help not only bilingual learners but your whole class. 

guided reading

Guided Reading Group Essential Steps

Before beginning guided reading, you need a few steps that will ultimately help you throughout the school year.

  • First, you prepare and plan your reading lessons.
  • Once you have the lessons in place, you will know how to identify time-consuming tasks and the best times for reading.
  • Even at the beginning of the school year, set expectations, guidelines, and procedures for students.
  • When you have these systems in place, you and your students will know what to expect.
  • For instance, guided reading time doesn’t have to be a random event.
  • Plan accordingly, those 20-30 minutes to maximize learning.

Another essential component of guided reading is assessment tools. Use reputable sources for assessing reading levels.

In that way, you can be sure that you have reliable results to monitor and support your students. While running records and notes help you throughout the process, using research-based assessment tools, assist you in the long run. For example, the Scholastic Next Step Guided Reading Assessment supports you in more than one way.

Besides helping you with reliable reading data, you can consistently use the system to evaluate students.

As students emerge as fluent readers and independent learners, you can continue to use the source for later years.

Monitoring the success of students is also another area to implement. During reading groups, you’ll be collecting plenty of data.

  • Use binders or a system that you can easily access those results and evaluate.
  • Rely on computer programs to help you keep track of each student’s progress.
  • Develop lessons according to your results to better support your students.
  • After assessing and monitoring, you might often need to address classroom expectations and guidelines.

Teaching Tips for Other Students in Class

While essential steps make sure your guided reading group is on task, other teaching tips help your class stay focused. Because you can’t be in two places at once, create effective ways to monitor your class and reading groups.

Of course, this part of guided reading is not simple. That is, plan your lessons so that you can conduct guided reading with one group one day.

Then, the next day, you can focus on writing. Practice different ways that help your students as they are part of the group and when they work independently.

One way to keep students in class on-task is to use learning centers.

  • For example, using learning stations or centers help students to collaborate and work through problem-solving.
  • Since most of your guided reading lessons are short, students use that time to practice writing skills or more reading.
  • Although your students in the class may come across problems, practice ways that they can solve without you.
  • Perhaps, using anchor charts that you can write together helps.
  • Then, you can place those visual aids across the classroom or in accessible areas.
  • When children have the opportunity to solve and think critically about problems, they develop lasting strategies to approach other issues.

Other ways to encourage solving problems are role-playing, repeating instructions before starting a common task, and creating rubrics that students can use to self-monitor.

While you focus on supporting readers in your group, your class has the opportunity to learn and flourish from other learning materials. 

Strategies to Help Bilingual Learners

A guided reading group can consist of many types of learners. Besides using assessment tools to help you evaluate reading levels, you most likely may come across dual language learners.

That is, guided reading, used in multiple ways, can quickly help ELL or dual language readers. For instance, as you use various teaching strategies, students develop fluency, independent reading, and activates prior knowledge.

  • These reading skills are critical for second language learners to read thoughtfully to understand the context, analyze text, and tackle challenging passages.
  • Besides creating a foundation for reading, reading groups encourage students to read with confidence and learn from mistakes.
  • A worthwhile practice to use in groups is to boost students’ self-confidence when they make mistakes.
  • When conducting guided reading groups, students read out loud all at once.
  • Instead of each student taking turns reading, the group reads together.
  • This activity encourages readers to focus on reading and not being self-aware, which can be a distracting source.
  • In turn, you can identify ways to support your readers.

Would a pronunciation technique be more helpful than praise to continue reading be more encouraging? While each learner is an individual case, you can assist each child in a guided reading group.

Guided Reading End of Lesson Tips

Especially when students take the time to reread a sentence or go back to the reading passage, those moments are critical. With every single step, students choose to reassess their reading, and they are more apt to develop those reading skills.

Another way to support ELL or dual language readers is to use reading partners. Perhaps, you can use a buddy system to help with pronunciation or phonetics.

You can also place readers in two transitional groups as they emerge from reading level to another. For ELL readers, consistent reading is essential in developing those skills. The more practice, the more likely they will continue to pursue other reading material. 

Guided reading is a vital component for early readers. Young readers engage and interact with different types of text in guided reading groups.

Often, you need to strategize and develop lessons to support diverse learners as they emerge from reading level to another. The most important aspect of guiding readers through groups is that students develop learning skills for more in-depth learning. 

Barbara Mascareno

Barbara is an educational writer, teacher, and instructional designer. She loves to write K-12 education content, teaching strategies, bilingual education approaches, and foreign language.

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