Guided Reading

Using Effective Classroom Practice

What is Guided Reading?

Guided reading is a integral part to your classroom's reading plan. It is a process where a teacher sits down with 4-5 students and allows the students to read to them one-on-one while working on strategies, meaning making, decoding, and comprehension. This is a crucial time for students to get individual instruction with the teacher and learn new strategies to put in their "tool belt" to use independently.

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What has been proven to not be effective?

Some teachers think that round robin reading (having one students read "x" amount of paragraphs or lines aloud, and then moving on to the next student) is effective during guided reading. It is not! Grouping of the students should be dynamic and changed throughout the year based on student improvement and different tracks the students take with their reading. There should be no labeling of high and low groups that leaves students with long lasting stigmas.

What should it look like?

Creating a judge free, engaging environment for guided reading is crucial. The students who are not working with the teacher should be engaged in some sort of independent literacy activity, that has been practiced beforehand. The less student interruptions during the lesson, the more beneficial and enriching the lesson will be. The students in the guided reading group should each have a copy of the same book that is on the student's instructional level. Guided reading lessons are set up in a before, during, after format.

Before reading, the teacher previews the book and topic of the lesson with the students. During the lesson, the students are asked to whisper read to the teacher for the teacher to hear the student's struggles. This way the teacher can work one on one with the student during this time. After the lesson, it is a great idea to have the students discuss with one another what strategies the teacher worked on one-on-one with them. This way, students are learning multiple strategies to use. The goal of guided reading is to teach students new strategies to use while independent reading to help decode and make meaning with the text.

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Classroom Management

Below is a video on Classroom Management during guided reading. This is a very important part of guided reading. Without effective classroom management, and stations where students can be independent, it will not be a good use of time. Notice how in the video, Jenna doesn't even begin guided reading until all of the work stations have been completed independently and she knows she can trust the students.

It is imperative for teachers to create an environment where students feel accepted, not rushed, and feel as if they are in a judgment free zone. Other students in the class should be independently working on reading activities that are improving their reading strategies as well. Using guided reading in a before, during, and after reading format is the most effective way to conduct this process.

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Casey Herring READ 4534 East Carolina University


Below are some resources that I used, and may be helpful to you as well!


Degener, S., & Berne, J. (2014). Speaking and listening during small-group reading instruction. Voices from the Middle, 22(1), 43-48. Retrieved from

Ford, M. P., & Opitz, M. F. (2008). A national survey of guided reading practices: What we can learn from primary teachers. Literacy Research and Instruction, 47(4), 309-331. doi: 10.1080/19388070802332895

Ford, M. P., PhD., & Opitz, M. F., PhD. (2011). Looking back to move forward with guided reading. Reading Horizons, 50(4), 225-240. Retrieved from

Fountas, I. C., & Pinnell, G. S. (2001). Guiding readers and writers grades 3–6: Teaching comprehension, genre, and content liter- acy. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Fountas, I. C., & Pinnell, G. S. (2012). Guided reading: The romance and the reality. The Reading Teacher, 6ki6(4), 268-284. doi: 10.1002/TRTR.01123

Glasswell, K., & Ford, M. P. (2010). Teaching flexibly with leveled texts: More power for your reading block. The Reading Teacher, 64(1), 57-60. doi:10.1598/RT.64.1.7

Guastello, E. F., & Lenz, C. (2005). Student accountability: Guided reading kidstations. The Reading Teacher, 59(2), 144-156. doi: 10.1598/RT.59.2.4

Iaquinta, A. (2006). Guided reading: A research-based response to the challenges of early reading instruction. Early Childhood Education Journal Early Childhood Educ J, 33(6), 413-418. Retrieved February 28, 2016. doi: 10.1007/s10643-006-0074-2

Marchand-Martella, N. E., Martella, R. C., & Lambert, M. C. (2015). Targeted management tips to enhance the effectiveness of tier 2, guided reading instruction. Intervention in School and Clinic, 50(3), 169-172. doi: 10.1177/1053451214542045

Payne, L. D., Marks, L. J., & Bogan, B. L. (2007). Using curriculum-based assessment to address the academic and behavioral deficits of students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Beyond Behavior, 16, 3–6.

About Me

My name is Casey Herring and I am Junior Elementary Education student at East Carolina University. I love reading, Netflix binging, bonfires, and puppies.