Regardless of the academic subject, whether it be language arts or even math, reading is crucial for students. It acts as a fundamental building block for learning. Reading helps students focus, remember things and communicate better. It can lessen stress and enhance mental health. Students can discover new things by reading that aid in interpersonal success.
As reading plays an important role in overall development, it is also tricky to engage students in reading activities. That’s when guided reading comes into the picture. Guided reading is a systematic approach that helps students read in a group. Teachers offer structural instructions and guide students with fluency and pace of reading. With this approach, parents can recognize the impact by noticing the benefits and willingness of children to read.
Guided reading: What is it all about?
Through the use of guided reading, teachers can assist a small group of students in reading on their own. To assist students in creating mental networks of tactical actions for processing difficult texts, teachers educate them throughout the lesson. Thinking is enhanced while reading aloud to someone hence, guided reading is more suitable to increase imagination skills.
Students actually engage in the collaborative process of reading during guided reading by listening or reading aloud and drawing their own interpretations from any particular text or book. With guided reading, the teacher assists each reader in acquiring a basic understanding of what is being read. It also assists teachers in purposefully guiding students through texts that are important from an understanding point of view.
The ultimate goal of guided reading: The need explored
According to research conducted in 2022, it was identified that guided reading acts as a responsive teaching approach across various grades. The research stated that guided reading is a path to constructing a literacy processing system. With the help of guided reading, challenges faced by students can be addressed in a more powerful and comprehensive manner. It was also found that different texts used in guided reading offer an opportunity for students to learn effectively. It also helps teachers support student development with reference to reading.
Another significant research was conducted in 2017 to understand the impact of effective guiding reading practices on a child’s academic journey. The research aimed to test the impact of guided reading on reading comprehension, word recognition, and fluency. As per the results, it was found that specific practices lead to a beneficial guided reading experience for students. The research also allowed to track the progress of students in the reading process. It was found that it had a positive impact on three of the determining factors including reading comprehension, fluency, and recognition in students.
According to the above-mentioned research, it can be concluded that there is an emerging need for guided reading for students. The approach not only helps them in reading but also builds communication skills and fluency. Teachers and educational institutions should consider different approaches for guided reading to receive successful outcomes.
Uncover the benefits of guided reading
The guided reading approach is specifically designed for students to enhance their reading skills. Whether the student is at any reading proficiency level, the approach has different benefits at different levels. It improves imagination, vocabulary, fluency, English communication, and understanding of words. Check how these benefits of guided reading can be helpful to students in their overall academic performance.
1. Child-Centered Reading Approach
Children learn to read independently and strategically through guided reading. Understanding and observing children’s reading practices allows teachers and parents to support them. It also helps the instructor understand the student’s performance and provides them with the resources required to advance. The child-centered approach to instruction is supported by guided reading.
2. Helps in Performance Evaluation
Development of reading skills aid in decoding and help students construct the meaning of different statements. It also helps students in gaining greater control over the reading process. Instructors get an opportunity to understand the strengths, weaknesses, and areas of improvement of students. This helps them put their attention towards these areas thereby polishing the reading skills of students.
3. Helps Monitor Progress
In guided reading, teachers lead the lesson while students take part. Teachers also monitor student participation, inform instruction using formative evaluations, and provide students feedback on their learning. It is one of the helpful instruments for enhancing a student’s basic reading abilities and assisting in the development of advanced comprehension abilities.
4. Encourages Student Participation
Guided reading practice is conducted in groups hence, it allows students to put forward their opinions. It also helps them understand the different perspectives of other students. They are motivated to put forward their opinion. Guided reading offers a cooperative learning environment where students can freely share their ideas. They are also stimulated to understand the meaning and elements of different texts by sharing curiosity with others.
5. Builds Confidence
The fact that students are assigned to a group of people with similar abilities is another benefit. Such an environment decreases the pressure associated with reading. As children meet like-minded individuals, they are more likely to build confidence to express, communicate and put forward their queries. It also increases a student’s motivation to read. With guided reading, children learn to communicate in social surroundings without fear. With the acquisition of knowledge, they are more likely to feel confident and fearless. Children also get an opportunity to form their strategies and constantly learn to improvise their reading skills.
Which skills benefit the most through guided reading
Guided Reading is a comprehensive approach that touches on different aspects of education. While students learn to read fluently, they also acquire different skill sets essential to everyday life. Right from being creative to being analytical, students can acquire these skills and benefit from them.
With guided reading, students can improve their comprehension skills. The term comprehension describes the capacity to comprehend written language. What is read gains meaning when it is understood. Through guided reading, students can understand a textual page more than just letters and sounds. Reading becomes joyful, entertaining, and educational when it is understood. With guided reading, students are exposed to different types of textual paragraphs, vocabulary, and words thereby leading to good comprehension skills.
2. Team Building
Essential social and communication skills, such as active listening and effective speaking, are taught through teamwork. Guided reading sessions are also conducted with a group of students. Hence, students gain the ability to listen to other readers in a team. To read together as a team, students learn how to listen to one another. They also have a sense of team spirit as each student listens to others.
Empathy is crucial because it enables students to comprehend how others are feeling and respond to circumstances properly. Guided reading often has different students including the ones good at it and even the ones weaker at reading. In such situations, students learn to build empathy for others. Higher empathy promotes more helpful behavior. It aids in relationship maintenance. For example, a student may recognize a new student struggling with reading. That student might also try to help the other one display the act of empathy.
4. Critical Thinking
An important aspect of learning is critical thinking since it helps students reflect and comprehend their own points of view. Guided reading enables students to come across multiple different texts, perspectives, and imaginations. This ability aids a student in understanding the world through their own observations and insights. Through critical thinking, students can focus more on strengths and prevent any form of restrictive or negative beliefs. As they come across different strategies and morals while reading, it helps them think critically and solve problems more effectively and methodically.
5. Imagination and Creativity
Guided Reading opens the door to imaginative worlds and learning. Through this, students are exposed to a bundle of information. Hence, they get an opportunity to develop these important life skills that children will carry into adulthood. Teachers can learn more about a child’s thoughts and feelings by observing the child’s artistic endeavors. Children’s mental development is aided by creativity by giving them the chance to experiment with new concepts, modes of thought, and approaches to solving problems.
Guided reading: Are there any disadvantages?
Guided Reading is advantageous to students however, every subject has its own disadvantages too. It’s important for educators to understand the demerits to better plan guided reading approaches for maximum benefit.
1. Different Development Pace
Guided reading practice is carried out in a group of students wherein all students might not be developing at the same pace. While some students are good at acquiring reading skills, others might require more attention. Hence, it becomes difficult for the instructor to completely cater to a particular student’s requirement. The setting might not be ideal for students who take a little longer to grasp the art of reading.
2. Time Constraints
In guided reading, a particular book or a topic is taken into account to conduct the reading process. However, every student has a different pace, voice modulation, and speed of reading. Time constraints can be a big problem to conduct guided reading effectively. It can also have a negative effect on students who read slowly as compared to others. Hence, it becomes a challenge for the teacher or the instructor to allocate sufficient time to each student. It is also important for educators to understand that each student should have the same amount of text for the reading purpose, no matter their speed.
3. Matching Books with Level
Guided reading has different levels starting from A and ending with Z. In the entire process, it becomes a challenge for teachers to identify the right level for the students. Once the level is identified, it is another challenge to get an accurate book to benefit children in the reading process. Hence, it becomes a negative setback for educators who might try to negotiate the levels and books while not taking into consideration reading interest and student achievement. Since there are two many levels, most of the time is spent laying instructions at every level. Such a feature creates a lap between levels which might not be ideal.
How to use guided reading in a way so that advantages outweigh disadvantages
While guided reading has minor disadvantages, there are ways to minimize them. With accurate practices and the right design of group reading, educators can outweigh these disadvantages. Check different ways that can be implemented for a successful reading outcome.
1. Right Reading Level
Guided reading is conducted between a group of different students. It is important that teachers and parents analyze the right reading group and level for a particular child. If the child is placed in a reading group that does not align with his/her space, then it becomes a disadvantage. However, this can be solved by aligning students with reference to their reading speed and understanding capabilities.
2. Choosing the right books
Teachers generally choose books for reading according to the difficulty levels and the reading level of a student. However, it is significant to note that teachers and educators should set different difficulty levels instead of simply having books of a certain level. Children are fragile as beginning readers. Introducing the books accurately as per their reading stage can overwhelm them with a bundle of new information. Hence, it becomes crucial to give them a warm-up reading session rather than directly skipping according to their capabilities. Once they have an idea about a guided reading approach, teachers can gradually increase the difficulty levels.
3. Shifting Focus to Reading than Assessing
The guided reading approach includes reading and is followed by the educator or the teacher asking different questions to students. In this process, the focus of this session generally shifts from reading to assessing the knowledge of students with reference to the subject matter. However, it is crucial for teachers and instructors to know that reading plays a significant role than assessing students every now and then. Also, it is evidently vital to teaching what is read rather than always assessing the knowledge. The approach should be focused on teaching what is read and not assessing it.
Guided reading is a structural approach to inculcating the habit and fluency of reading in students. It comprises different stages and levels. It is more like an instructional practice with students where they sit in a group to read a text independently under the guidance of a teacher or an instructor.
While this is a good way to conduct guided reading sessions, it can also be done through innovative applications, websites, and games. Parents and teachers may also indulge children in guided reading activities that help them build other important skills along with this. While no approach is completely right or wrong, it is crucial for educators to constantly look for betterment in strategies and cope with global standards.
- Fountas, I., & Pinnell, G.S. (2022). Guided Reading: Responsive Teaching Across the Grades. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781138609877-REE227-1
- O’Rourke, Emily, “The Impact Of Effective Guided Reading Practices” (2017). School of Education and Leadership Student Capstone Theses and Dissertations. 4290.https://digitalcommons.hamline.edu/hse_all/4290
I am Shweta Sharma. I am a final year Masters student of Clinical Psychology and have been working closely in the field of psycho-education and child development. I have served in various organisations and NGOs with the purpose of helping children with disabilities learn and adapt better to both, academic and social challenges. I am keen on writing about learning difficulties, the science behind them and potential strategies to deal with them. My areas of expertise include putting forward the cognitive and behavioural aspects of disabilities for better awareness, as well as efficient intervention. Follow me on LinkedIn