I have recently been thinking about what might be some new creative ways to implement guided reading in the classroom and took to the internet to find some ideas. I cam across an article on the scholastic website that gives some tips for teachers and is aimed at grades K-2. This article written by Sharon Taylor specified the steps that should be followed to promote guided reading in the classroom and they are as follows:
- Determine the objective. Basically the goal of the lesson is to be explicitly determined and the skills and strategies that are most appropriate can be selected to put into action. Some of these skills and strategies provided are:
- Reading and recognizing sight words
- Using picture cues
- Making predictions
- Activating prior knowledge
Some of my favourites from this short list are using picture cues and activating prior knowledge. Especially when working with primary grades, I feel that children really need to take in the entire pages when trying to determine the words on each page. Pictures are there to be aesthetically pleasing, but also to assist with piecing together parts of the text, likely in this case, the storyline. I think it is important to draw children’s attention to the pictures in the book, sometimes even before reading the text. This way the children can make predictions and whether they are right or not, they are still activating their prior knowledge.
- Selecting reading materials that match the instructional level of your students groups.
I think that this is very important because I have seen the damage it can cause for a child’s self-esteem if they are always trying to read material that they are unable to. This can cause lots of frustration for the child and can create a negative opinion on reading itself. I think that it is crucial to try and foster a love for learning in children while they are still in the primary grades. Reading is necessary throughout all their years of education and they will have a much easier time if they enjoy reading as opposed to dreading it.
- Plan before-reading, during-reading, and after-reading activities.
Taylor recommends that you plan activities to go along with the reading whether it be before you begin to read, while you are reading, or after reading. I agree with this step and had the chance to do many read-aloud with follow-up activities with my entire grade 1/2 class. I also felt that it was beneficial to begin the read-aloud by asking the students a few questions on the topic of the book, maybe asking for predictions based on the cover and some illustrations in the book.
On the website there are also suggestions for materials that could be very helpful that I had not thought of previously. Here are some of these suggestions:
Highlighters- used for sight words and other key vocabulary words
Pointers- can help students track print as they read the text
Dry Erase Boards and Markers- Can write responses to questions throughout guided reading lesson
Whisper Phones- Students can practice reading the text to themselve using whisper phones while the teacher works with other students in the group.
- I have never heard of these tools but think younger students would definitely love the idea and I would be interested to try it out! I looked more into what a whisper phone is and they can easily be made out of PVC pipes cut into smaller pieces. I have attached a link to the website with more detailed instructions!
I have found these tips helpful in the way that they have provided suggestions within each step. I think the portion that I found most helpful was the materials that were suggested as I had never thought to use some of these simple tools that most classrooms have to assist with guided reading. I think incorporating as many tools as possible can get the students excited about reading and can definitely help many students focus and stay on task more when working with the small groups.
I hope that by providing my input on these tips you have gained a few new ideas to implement with your students or children! Happy reading!
Taylor, S. (2011, November 25). Tips on Implementing Guided Reading Lessons. Scholastic.com. Retrieved March 10, 2016, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/classroom-solutions/2011/11/tips-implementing-guided-reading-lessons