Four tips for improving guided reading instruction (and a giveaway)

 //  Dec 16, 2013

Four tips for improving guided reading instruction (and a giveaway)

Even the most experienced teachers take time to lay the groundwork for success. Teachers need to get to know their students as readers and as members of the classroom community. And students need time to learn what is expected of them during a lesson. This is especially important for guided reading instruction.

As we release our newest program, Guided Reading Nonfiction: Second Edition, we wanted to provide some practical tips teachers can implement.  Oh, and there is a giveaway too!

Here are some tips for laying the groundwork for Guided Reading success:

  1. Model Literacy Activities including close reading through interactive read-alouds, shared reading, and shared writing. Show students how to keep readers notebooks and use graphic organizers to keep track of their reading and to help them cite textual evidence.
  2. Assess Students as Readers with running records to determine their instructional reading levels. Check for fluency in both reading and writing, and use reading attitude surveys and interest inventories to help you suggest the right books for each student.
  3. Get to Know Your Book Collection, from fiction to literature and nonfiction to informational text. Making sure titles match your students’ reading levels and interests is critical. Organize books so that students can quickly find the books they want or need for independent reading and group work.
  4. Group for Guided Reading using the data you collect during these initial steps. Begin working with one guided reading group a day, adding in more groups as your students become more adept at rotating from activity to activity and working on their own. Add in grouping assignments to your classroom chart.

GIVEAWAY: To celebrate the launch of Guided Reading Nonfiction: Second Edition, we thought it would be fun to host a giveaway for one lucky reader to win two individual levels (winner’s choice) from Guided Reading Nonfiction: Second Edition. For a chance to win, leave a comment below telling us a tip you have to make guided reading instruction even more powerful. See official rules here.


For guided reading exercise

For guided reading exercise and activities I make sure to choose a book that will sound interesting and fun when read aloud. I think the book choice makes all the difference!

Higher leveling questions to

Higher level questions for students to get them to really think about the tex,t and to go beyond the text, are keys to a great guided reading lesson. Get them thinking!

I use whiteboards in guided

I use whiteboards in guided reading to get the kids more interested in answering questions or doing graphic organizers.

Teach routines and procedures

Teach routines and procedures for students not to disturb the teacher during guided reading groups. Have a "do not disturb" sign or signal on the reading table to remind students that may come to the teacher.

To help students make

To help students make connections, I check with the general education teachers to see what they are teaching. I then try to find books, either on the same topic or the same skill. That way students can help understand that we read to help us get more information and we can use that information in more places then just to answer comprehension questions.

When students find evidence

When students find evidence in the text for their response to questions a teacher asks, have them turn to a partner to read the text they chose to support their answer. This gives all students an opportunity to share, and the teacher can listen and share key ideas he/she heard the group discussing.

Make sure you are using high

Make sure you are using high interest books, especially for those lower groups. It will make a world of difference in the effort your students make.

When selecting books for

When selecting books for guided reading, I like to let the students participate in the selection process. It gives them some ownership into their reading program and they are much more willing to take the reading seriously.

I like to introduce more

I like to introduce more challenging reading strategies in the context of everyday life so that students have something to connect back to when we start reading. For questioning, bring in a mystery box and have students ask questions or write "I wonder..." statements. For making inferences, bring in trash bags filled with paraphernalia of a certain profession or specific teacher in the school (chef, math teacher, art teacher) and have students infer who left the trash in the room.

I like to use print reference

I like to use print reference techniques and plenty of topical/appropriate jokes and humour to keep kids interested. Keeping things fun is great for kids who are reluctant to read!

I like to read text more than

I like to read text more than once with groups. Each time we read, we read for a different purpose: finding blends, looking for figurative language, etc. depending on the students' need.

I take my iPad to guided

I take my iPad to the guided reading lesson, and I have loaded a Google image of an unfamiliar word that I want to call students' attention to during the book introduction.

To make guided reading even

To make guided reading even more powerful I use books that follow the theme we are learning in class. For example, if we are learning about adaptations in science, I may pull out a leveled reader about armadillos. The students love it and it keeps them excited.

I like to have 1-1 time, even

I like to have 1-1 time, even for 5 min. I pull one kid aside at a time and just listen to them read and read with them.

For guided reading its

For guided reading its important for my students to read a variety of books including plays, nonfiction, fiction, pattern books etc. so they know what kinds of books are out there! They will eventually find a type of book or genre that interests them and I want them to have a love for reading at a young age!

Begin and end your guided

Begin and end your guided reading lesson with the statement "Good readers....(name the reading behavior/strategy...! Watch for it and praise during and after the lesson. Students will be more apt to do these if they know what they need to do to be a good reader.

I always leave my students

I always leave my students with a teaching point and a praise point when doing a running record. It's a powerful statement for my students to hear the words "you did what good readers do..."

I use Literacy Circles for my

I use Literacy Circles for my guided reading groups, each student has a "role" they must be prepared for when their group meets. The groups are usually chosen by the students based on book titles offered with a theme or genre with some guidance from me (such as reading levels, etc). While a guided reading group is meeting the other students in the class are writing in their reading journals, practicing spelling & vocab words with various interactive activities for each, working on "Wonderopolis" or "Spelling City", or other independent activities from other content areas if applicable.

I survey all my students to

I survey all my students to find their interests and use these to find engaging material to use in my guided reading lessons.

I give the students a book

I give the students a book and a whisper phone. As each student is reading, I lean toward them to listen to how they are reading. They love the whisper phones and it keeps them from being embarrassed about reading new text that may be a bit challenging.