Guided Reading FAQs

Inside Outside Circle Activity

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  1. Introduce yourself and take turns answering the following questions:
  2. How did you learn how to read? Who taught you? Describe your successes in teaching guided reading.
  3. What are the challenges of teaching guided reading?
  4. What would you change about teaching guided reading?

Outside Circle take two steps to the right. Repeat the process.


Why is this a successful way of learning from each other?

How could you use this activity in your role at your school?

Defining Our Beliefs: Guided Reading

Before we begin, let's take the time to jot down your vision for your students; your set of beliefs that help guide you & your Guided Reading instruction.

from Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller

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Components of Guided Reading

Guided reading requires a combination of 4 key components:

  1. Assessment
  2. Planning
  3. Organization
  4. Instruction

Steps in the Guided Reading Process

™The purpose of guided reading is to meet the varying instructional needs of ALL the students in your class, enabling them to greatly expand their reading powers. Explicit instruction is essential and will make reading more powerful for all students.”

-™Fountas and Pinnell

Preparation: Know the Readers and Form Groups

Grouping for Instruction

  • Students work on specific concepts or skills.
  • Groups are not labeled within the classroom
  • Students have the freedom to move among the groups.
  • Students have the opportunity to change groups depending on the skill or objective

Questions to Keep in Mind

  • What do students need to learn?
  • What are their strengths?
  • What are they having difficulty with as readers?
  • What are the next instructional steps?
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1. Select and Analyze Text

Select texts that will help your students grow in their knowledge of genre, structure, complex plots and themes, challenging features of nonfiction texts, and literary analysis.

Questions to Keep in Mind

  • What will be interesting for students and engage them in the text?
  • What will be challenging and what will they need support to understand (vocabulary, big ideas)?
  • What are the learning opportunities in this book?
  • How can this book help students with processing strategies?
  • How can it help them expand comprehension?

2. Introduce the Text

  • Build background knowledge (or clarify misconceptions)
  • Prompt students to notice information
  • Introduce vocabulary (not all words)

3. Students Read the Text

  • Students are reading the text independently (silently)
  • You might ask them to read a paragraph or two aloud or have them discuss with you what they are thinking about the text
  • Schedule a running record or take anecdotal notes

4. Discuss the Text

  • Share what they were thinking (ask one or two questions to probe their thinking)
  • Let students talk about what they noticed while reading.
  • Turn & Talk

5. Make One or Two Teaching Points

  • At the end of the discussion, make 1-2 teaching points based on your observations or from the whole group lesson (character analysis, central idea, vocabulary)

6. Working with Words

  • If students need help with word study, plan 2-3 minutes of word work after the lesson
  • Focus on prefixes, suffixes, Greek and Latin roots, context clues strategies

7. Extend Understanding

Give students opportunities to record their thinking
  • Exit Slip
  • Respond in their Reading Notebooks
  • Quick Write
  • Graphic Organizer

8. Reflecting on the Lesson and Planning

Before calling your next group, jot down your next steps.
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Webpage Resources for Guided Reading

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Reflecting Back to Our Beliefs

  • Where’s the evidence of this belief in my classroom?
  • What kinds of things should I be seeing, hearing, doing to support this belief?
  • Where does this practice fit into what I say I value?
  • What studies support this practice?

How this session addresses T-TESS

While guided reading offers optimum teaching opportunities, it also recognizes your students’ emotional and social needs for both independent and cooperative learning. Thoughtful grouping for maximum learning is a cornerstone of guided reading. Fountas & Pinnell
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Upcoming PD Sessions


  • Guiding Readers and Writers by Fountas and Pinnell
  • Making the Most of Small Groups by Debbie Diller
  • Growing Independent Learners by Debbie Diller
  • Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller
  • The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson
  • Guided Reading: Small Group Instruction session presented by Cathy Hinojosa
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