Guided Reading Strategies for ESL Students

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

In this lesson, we will explore a teaching method known as guided reading and discuss how you can use it to help your ESL students become independent readers.

Guided Reading for ESL students

Guided reading is an approach in which teachers assist small groups of students who are at the same reading level. Students in these small groups generally also display similar reading behaviors and may have the same native country. Guided reading can be particularly beneficial to ESL students, as it allows teachers to provide the more focused attention that ESL students may need and address students' needs on the road to becoming independent readers.

When developing and implementing guided reading strategies, keep in mind that they should be motivational. After all, ESL students need encouragement because, from their perspective, reading is a huge and often scary challenge. Now, let's explore guided reading strategies for ESL students at three different stages of the reading process.


Motivating Students to Read

Let's put ourselves in our students' shoes. Imagine you know the basics of a foreign language and you must read a text in that language. You are afraid that others will be excel at reading while you struggle and are left behind. This stress can turn students off to reading the text before they even start.

Before reading begins, make sure students relax and feel comfortable about the reading assignment. We want them to look at reading as an enjoyable experience, not one to feel stressed about. You can do this by emphasizing that reading is a pleasure because we get to live stories and learn new things.

Reviewing Vocabulary

Vocabulary reviewing is also essential. No one knows better than you what words your students may not know. You might give them a list of words they'll see in the text to learn before reading. Or, you can ask students to quickly scan the text and underline the words they do not know, then explain those vocabulary terms to the group.

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