Because you will have students with a range of reading levels in your ELA classes, an important tool for you to use is guided reading.
Guided reading is an instructional technique in which the literacy teacher works with small groups of students to support their understanding of challenging texts by calling attention to elements of text such as text and graphic features, vocabulary, illustrations, story elements, and word-solving strategies. Guided reading also allows the instructor to build additional understanding of text through writing, discussion, and text analysis. Students are placed in groups according to the instructional objectives of the teacher, but typically the groupings will be fairly homogenous so that students are reading books at their instructional level and the teacher can select objectives suitable to each group. Guided reading procedures can be different depending whether the text is literary or informational.
Guided Reading for Literary Texts
There are many features of fiction texts that a guided reading lesson may incorporate. Students are grouped by similar reading levels in small groups and a text is chosen based on the instructor’s objectives. Lesson content can include the following:
- Vocabulary variations in denotation, connotation, and usage as affected by context
- New vocabulary
- Text features used by the author to convey meaning, such as italicized writing, use of all capitals, ellipses, and illustrations
- Story elements such as plot, conflict, suspense, characterization, and setting, and how these work to increase the interest of the story for the reader
- Discussion of the plot or conflict to illicit personal connections or connections between the text and other texts students have read
- The characteristics of different types of fiction, such as realistic and fantasy fiction
- Individual student read-alouds to check for fluency and interpretation of text features, such as punctuation
- Word work that demonstrates word-solving strategies, such as syllabication of two, three, and four syllable words
- Mapping a story or chapter to record evidence from the text to support analysis of the characters, problem, and events, or to record the story structure of rising action, falling action, and resolution.
Guided Reading for Informational Texts
Lesson content in nonfiction guided reading can include the following:
- A discussion of what information can be gained from photographs, captions, illustrations, diagrams, or charts
- A discussion of the main idea of the article that illicits prior knowledge of the topic
- Setting a purpose for reading that relates to the author’s purpose in writing the piece
- New vocabulary, especially jargon or technical terms relating to the topic
- How to interpret graphic elements such as charts or maps
- Word-solving strategies for unfamiliar words, such as context clues
- Completing a summary map that details how the author supports the main idea