Guided reading instruction

Updated at 18 Sep 2022

Guided reading is, without a doubt, my favorite way to learn to read. My students love reading with guidance, and I see improvements in their reading skills. They were always delighted when I called them to my reading table.

Little boy reading a book at the blackboard

Reading under guidance has many benefits. You need supervised reading in the classroom, I know for sure. You need to read aloud even if you are using distance learning. Let's look at the main benefits of supervised learning for students.

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Guided reading is a way to differentiate instruction

Do you remember in elementary school reading in a circle or "reading popcorn"? I'm sure you remember!

Reading under guidance is a completely different practice. First, you need to group the children according to their reading level and the skills they need to practice.

A boy reads a book in front of a group of children

You then need to select the sibling books that will best suit each of the groups of young readers you have formed. After that, you need to get to know each child in the group better, and understand their level of preparation and individual characteristics, so that later you can better prepare each of them. Supervised reading has one important advantage: you can give differentiated instructions to the whole class and each student individually.

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Reading weaknesses can be addressed

Each supervised reading group is usually formed of two to six students. You can quickly identify each student's weak points by listening carefully as the children read.

Tip: Be sure to take notes during this analysis, so you don't miss important details. You can then create a plan to help each student improve their reading skills, and taking notes will help you with that.

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Guided reading allows for specific word work and sight word practice

A group of girls reading at the blackboard

The 20-minute guided reading program also includes time for word work and sight reading practice. Another amazing benefit of guided reading is the ability to purposefully practice these skills. You can do this workout from a specific book if you want.

If there is a problem that most of your students struggle with, then this way, you can work through it faster. On the other hand, such classes are a great opportunity for the further development of even the most advanced students.

Improving reading comprehension and improving reading fluency

Reading comprehension and fluency are important components of reading. Guided reading can help you evaluate your students' fluency and how well they understand what they read.

You can then easily create a plan to help young readers with specific problems, if any, identified during your analysis. These two points can and should be evaluated every time you work with your group.

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It is possible to intentionally teach concepts about printing

The boy enthusiastically reads and runs his finger along the lines of the book

Guided reading is also helpful for beginners and even those who can't read at all. You can selectively focus on the concept of printing.

So you can assess the weaknesses of your group in this area to understand where and in what children need help to a greater extent. You can always focus on punctuation and letter and word recognition, especially if your students need it.

Guided reading helps readers learn how to discuss a text

Guided reading can include comprehension practice and sometimes guided writing. You will help students think critically about the text you have just read.

Students will learn to analyze the text at their level. Students will then learn how to discuss a text. This will also allow students to expand their vocabulary.

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Free tool to maximize the benefits of guided reading

Photo of many open books

I find the most useful and user-friendly tool for guided reading to be the Guided Reading Resource Cards. These cards will help you plan at what level to teach guided reading in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. They will add liveliness and interactivity to your program that will help you hold and direct your students' attention.

Typically, flashcards include topics such as:

  • behavior to support
  • word work activities
  • fluency comprehension

If you need examples of how to arrange and prepare such cards for your class, you can use this link.

Teachers also have the opportunity to offer support and guidance to students who read aloud in small groups. Guided reading allows me to get to know my students better, get closer to them, and share my love of reading.

When we read together, I cherish the time I share with them. I always look forward to the time for guided reading with my students. I hope you enjoy this type of learning.

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