The goal of small group guided reading is "to enable students to become independent readers who comprehend and analyze, problem-solve and self monitor as they read, and choose to read for pleasure and information". (Routman, 2000)
|Before Reading||During Reading||After Reading|
The teacher chooses a focus for the guided reading lesson. This focus is chosen based on the students' needs as determine by the DRA Focus for Instruction. Options for instructional focus include:
After setting the purpose for the lesson, the teacher establishes background knowledge and introduces new vocabulary. In the younger grades, the group might do a "picture walk" by looking through the book and anticipating the plot and story ideas. The teacher will help the students by pointing out difficult vocabulary, though it is important to save some difficult words for the students to solve themselves. During guided reading the students should be doing the majority of the reading work.
During small group guided reading, each student should read the book simultaneously with the others. There should be no round robin reading. Each student should do the "work" of figuring out difficult words and comprehending the text on their own. The teacher can monitor students by listening to them whisper read (if they are younger) or by sitting beside them and asking them to whisper read a small section while the others read on their own.
A few management techniques for "during reading":
After all the students have had a chance to read the book at least once, pull the group back together to discuss the lesson focus. This might include a discussion of difficult words and how students solved them, or it might focus on comprehension strategies. The teacher might choose to take advantage of a "teachable moment" by discussing strategies she observed students use during the reading.
The "after reading" portion might also include a quick phonics lesson or sight word focus as well. Teachers use their best judgement of what the students need based on observations.