The Why? The What? and The How?
Balanced literacy has been defined as “an approach designed to help individual students learn how to process a variety of increasingly challenging texts with understanding and fluency.” (Fountas & Pinnell, 2001)
It is an approach to teaching. NOT a curriculum. It is HOW we teach our students to be independent readers and writers. It is NOT what books we use to teach them.
Balanced Literacy has been defined in “components” or “pieces” of literacy instruction.
This 8-week series will focus on the components of a complete BALANCED LITERACY program. We will focus on clear and concise definitions. Definitions that educators can discuss in collaborations. A “common language” where we can learn from each other and with each other.
The 8 components we will focus on are:
- Read Alouds
- Shared Reading
- Guided Reading
- Independent Reading
- Modeled / Interactive Writing
- Shared Writing
- Guided Writing / Writer’s Workshop
- Word Work
Each week we will focus on one area of Balanced Literacy and share experiences, teacher tips, and resources to support and expand our Balanced Literacy repertoire.
This week: Guided Reading.
Week 1: We discussed Read Alouds.
Week 2: We discussed Shared Reading.
This week we jump into GUIDED READING.
Let’s talk to the EXPERTS about Guided Reading.
Gay Su Pinnell and Irene Fountas Video by: Kemberly Meriwether
Guided reading is subject to many interpretations, but Burkins & Croft (2010) identify these common elements:
- Working with small groups
- Matching student reading ability to text levels
- Giving everyone in the group the same text
- Introducing the text
- Listening to individuals read
- Prompting students to integrate their reading processes
- Engaging students in conversations about the text
The goal is to help students develop strategies to apply independently. Work focuses on processes integral to reading proficiently, such as cross-checking print and meaning information, rather than on learning a particular book’s word meanings. (For example, a student might see an illustration and say “dog” when the text says puppy, but after noticing the beginning /p/ in puppy, correct the mistake.) During guided reading, teachers monitor student reading processes and check that texts are within students’ grasps, allowing students to assemble their newly acquired skills into a smooth, integrated reading system (Clay, p.17)
What does a guided reading lesson look like?
It varies based on reading level, but here’s a general structure for a 15-20 minute lesson.
- Students re-read familiar texts for several minutes. This is a great way to promote fluency!
- For just a minute or so, the students practice previously learned sight words.
- The teacher introduces the text.
- The students read the text out loud or silently while the teacher coaches. They do not take turns reading; instead, each child reads the text in its entirety.
- The teacher leads a discussion of the text.
- The teacher makes 1-2 teaching points.
- If time allows, students do a few minutes of word work or guided writing.
Scholastic has 4 Tips for Guided Reading Success:
- Establish Routines. Routines for The Lesson format ( this helps with TIME constraints ), routines for when Guided reading happens, AND routines for what the OTHER students are doing while the teacher is teaching at the table.
2. Make SMART text choices. The text should provide multiple opportunities for students to apply strategies and skills you have identified for the group.
3. Dive into INSTRUCTION. Before, during & after reading.
3. Assess and Be Flexible. Your groups should be fluid and should change as your students’ instructional needs change. That’s where informal and formal assessments come in handy.
These literacy posts may help in YOUR Balanced Literacy journey.
These Guided Reading resource books for TEACHERS may be helpful for YOUR reading.
So…Leave me a comment… What does GUIDED READING look like in YOUR classroom?