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What is Guided Reading Anyway?


           Guided reading instruction is only one part of the literacy program; the entire program also includes language/word study and writing workshops.  uided reading instruction involves using leveled reading materials from A-Z to support the reader at each level and working with students in small groups with a common need. Running records and informal reading inventories give a teacher data. The goal is to develop independent readers by helping them to internalize their strategies and having them reread the same text several times to gain fluency. Other methods include: modeling what good readers do: predicting, inferring, subtexting, clarifying, visualizing, questioning, summarizing, and noticing nonfiction text features; writing to make meaning of the text; and word study to understand how words work. Guided reading groups are constantly changing based on need.  

          Guided reading gives students the opportunity to read at their just right level, which means that the books provide them with a moderate challenge. Before reading, a purpose is established and a connection to the reader’s experience is made. Students working on vocabulary definitions only do so by making connections back to the text. Readers are grouped with students with similar ability, needs, and strengths. Instruction is tuned to the needs of the particular students. Without teaching at the point of need, many students will not progress. Children will learn how to think about a text, and be able to apply their strategies in other reading situations. Within a guided reading lesson plan is the opportunity to talk about story elements such as character, setting, plot, metaphors, point of view, and vocabulary, etc. The purpose of guided reading is to teach individuals to read increasingly difficult texts with understanding and fluency. 

          Guided reading instruction should be fun and engaging for readers. The idea of guided reading instruction is to allow the reader to become immersed in the story’s elements and in character development. Concentration is focused on comprehension:  vocabulary, sequencing, predicting, inferring, subtexting, fluency, decoding strategies, making connections with characters and events, summarizing, analyzing, critiquing, retelling, using nonfiction text features, and word meanings. In determining which students should be placed in which groups, the teacher uses running records and informal reading inventories. The students are retested to determine if they should stay in the same group or change groups. 

The Guided Reading Approach

ReadingTask Emphasized Comprehension – understanding the meaning of the printed words.  Students are directly taught strategies for both decoding and comprehension, with the emphasis on comprehension.
Motivational Approach Increased proficiency in reading and comprehending texts using various strategies.  Books at all levels are inviting and engaging.
Decoding Approach Analytic – emphasis on context clues, structural analysis, and configuration clues and Synthetic – begins with individual speech sounds and builds into words.  Students are taught a variety of strategies to decode. 
Story Content Stories are interesting, and increase in length and difficulty as the levels increase from A-Z.  Students read REAL literature, even in kindergarten.  You can check many of the texts out of your local library.
Vocabulary Selection Words selected to be taught are generally Tier 2 words, which are words that are likely to appear frequently in a wide variety of texts and in the written and oral language of mature language users.
Vocabulary Difficulty Words whose meanings the children are most likely to know are considered easiest, words not in their speaking vocabularies are considered most difficult. In many cases, vocabulary is pre-taught if the words can not be figured out in context.   Words with the most common spelling patterns (CVC, CVCE) are considered easiest, inconsistent and irregular spelling patterns the most difficult.
Mode of Response Whisper (soft) and silent reading are emphasized over oral reading.  Comprehension strategies and questions are an important part of guided reading as well.
Structure and Completeness Considered a complete program, but there is no formal guide.  It is teacher developed.  
  credit http://www.mrsjudyaraujo.com