So a while ago I posted about Guided Reading. I always meant to have a follow up post, but somehow, never got back to it. This post is meant to discuss guided reading strategies and tips to help your readers become strong and independent.
Small Group Instruction or Guided Reading
You will often hear the term “small group instruction” or “guided reading“. I wanted to clearly explain the differences between the two. Small Group Instruction is a format. It’s an idea that we deliver content using smaller groups to reach more students. Guided Reading is an intentional, data driven form of instruction. Guided reading is done in the small group instruction format.Guided Reading is NOT a program. It’s a best practice of education that fits into the Balanced Literacy Model.
Guided Reading Strategies
During your guided reading groups, you want to be sure to use a variety of scaffolded reading strategies.
I want to spend some time discussing what kind of scaffolded reading strategies you could use during your guided reading time.
Scaffolded Reading Strategies for Guided Reading
The teacher will introduce echo reading and how it sounds. Once children are comfortable with the method of echo reading, the teacher’s goal is to decide how much of the text to read each time before pausing for the children to echo it back. In this strategy, I recommend chunking the text. During this strategy, students should track with their fingers.
This is often called “unison reading”. Students are reading at the same time as the teacher. The teacher is modeling correct phrasing, annotation and expression. Students are tracking with their finger while reading. Research suggests that students should choral read at the first or second exposure to a text, but should eventually be able to whisper read.
Students are reading at the same time but not at the same rate. The teacher will listen in or take a running record on one student at a time. The biggest mistake about using this strategy, is not using this strategy! Students who are always asked to choral read and never given the opportunity to read out loud for their teacher are going to have gaps created in their instruction. I like to work through each level of support depending on my students ability. Once your students are whisper reading consistently, have them remove their fingers. Tracking is helpful in Kindergarten and early first grade, but tracking can slow their fluency as they begin to read harder texts.
The biggest take away about scaffolded reading strategies is that we should be using ALL of them. Students will need more support at different times. As educators, we have to use our own judgement for when to give support and when to let them fly. My biggest advice, is try to give students the opportunity to whisper read each day. Even your kindergarten babies! They can do it!
Using Reading Assessment to Guide Instruction
When we start with guided reading strategies, we need to look at our data points. What assessment tools are we using? I put together an assessment and instructional kit to help not only test but teach the skills with gaps.