Guided Reading: How to Build Strategy Use in Readers
The purpose of guided reading is to build strategy use to support growing readers. We do this in a guided setting so we can introduce a strategy and help students practice it until they’re able to do it on their own in their own reading.
In order to actually make this happen, it requires thoughtful planning and figuring out which strategies to introduce to students.
But it’s not as hard as it seems! Once you’ve figured out which strategy to teach, here is how you can actually ensure that students acquire it and are able to use it in their own reading.
1. Explicitly introduce it at the beginning of your lesson.
This can look like a little tiny minilesson. As in a minilesson, explicitly state what the strategy is and how to do it. Choose a chunk of text – it could be from the book you’re about to read, a book you’ve read before with this group, or any short text. Model using the strategy in this text. Ask students if they understand and if they have questions.
2. Keep a record of strategies kids can use.
When you’ve already introduced a strategy, you’ll want to keep a visual record so kids and refer to it in the future, during guided reading and other parts of the day.
I add the strategy on a little sentence strip into a pocket chart, so students will remember that’s a strategy they are able to use. Have kids verbalize the strategy, too. The language needs to become theirs.
2. Set a purpose question that requires students to use the strategy.
I use my little dry-erase board to visually record what we are working on during the lesson. Then I provide students with post-its so they can try the strategy on their on during their reading. At the end of the lesson, we can add their post-its and have a discussion about how they used the strategy.
3. During reading, prompt students to use the strategy.
As students are reading, prompt them to try the strategy out. Ask questions that guide them through using the strategy. If students are simply forgetting to use it, you can just ask, “What strategy are we working on?” and gesture towards the pocket chart and dry-erase board.
4. Close the lesson with a conversation about the strategy.
Ask students how it went and if they were able to try it out. Think about how you’d like to continue with your next lesson. More practice? An increase in complexity? Different types of purpose questions?
Over time, students will acquire strategies. Then you can bridge to their independent reading and have them practice it independently, at which point it will be part of their toolbox!
Once I’ve taught something whole-group or in guided reading, I add it to my Good Readers… chart so students can use the sentence starters to write their reading responses. It really helps to grow their independence! You can read more about this in Rolling Out Reader’s Workshop.
Be sure to check back every Sunday for these informative posts. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I included lots of information and tips to help you get rolling or to spice up your guided reading!