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What is Guided Reading? - Definition & Levels

Instructor: Marquis Grant
This lesson will highlight the practice of guided reading by providing a definition of the term and explaining the levels associated with it. A short quiz will follow to test your knowledge.

What is Guided Reading?

Guided reading can be defined as a practice in which you, as the teacher, assist your students in navigating the reading process. Reading is about more than just recognizing and reciting words on a page: it's basically a conscious effort to understand what's being read. For some students, this may be a difficult task, particularly those students who struggle with reading comprehension. They may able to read fluently (meaning confidently), but have difficulty figuring out exactly what the author was saying in a text.

Likewise, a student may not be able to recognize the words that are in a text, which will inevitably affect how well they comprehend what they are reading. No matter what the struggle for them is, many children rely on the teacher to help them make sense of what the text.

How Does Guided Reading Work?

During guided reading, the teacher, Mrs. Olms, would provide instruction that will support her students as they develop their reading skills. While it's possible to implement guided reading as to an entire class, this may not be effective. Small group instruction has been found to work best when supporting learners who may need an extra push. Smaller groups allow Mrs. Olms to focus more on the individual needs of her students and provide reading strategies that would be most beneficial to developing their literacy skills.

Likewise, Mr. Jackson may have students that struggle with word recognition and need more specialized instruction. In this case, Mr. Jackson may use a decoding strategy so that when students come to unfamiliar words, your students will be able to sound out (decode) the letter sounds in the word. He may start out with a list of five or six words that he shows his students how to decode by saying the word first, then having his students repeat the words. As Mr. Jackson's list increases, so will his students' ability to decode unfamiliar words. His goal would be for students to use the decoding strategy in their own so that they can be come effective independent readers.

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