Guided reading takes place when a child reads out loud to an adult, in class most probably the teacher, or any other proficient reader. He is also given feedback about this. The teacher supports small groups of beginning readers based on children’s abilities and needs. This grouping is done after continuous observation and assessment by the teacher. The books chosen for the sessions which are called “levelled readers”  match the children’s ability level. Whilst being interesting and motivating, they should meet the objectives for the group. This way, levelled reading moves away from the one size fits all approach to reading where the entire class reads the same book. Rather, it is more personalised and gives each child the opportunity to develop at his own rate. The teacher monitors the child’s progress and helps him learn to read. The level of the book can be increased as children progress.
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There might still be some children who go beyond the assigned book level. As emphasised by Saunders (n.d.), it is very important that teachers do not restrict children to the book level they are at. Still while it is important for children to be challenged in their reading, it is equally important that theyare given the opportunity to read at a level they feel comfortable. This helpsthem be more enthusiastic to read and more likely to take on challenging reading themselves which is what guided reading aims to achieve. Texts which would have previously been read should also be available so children can reread them on their own, with others or at home as they become fluent and confident readers.
Guided reading helps children be more positive towards reading. They start making more sense of what they read and be more aware of the language used and the concepts in the text. Clidas (n.d.), emphasizes that guided reading enables beginning readers to take on more responsibility. They are taught to tackle new vocabulary using strategies they have already learnt.
Both good and struggling readers benefit from guided reading. Gagen (n.d.) reports research  showing that children who read out loud in guided reading sessions not only become more fluent and able to recognize words, but also have a higher comprehension level. During guided reading the child becomes more attentive to details and expands his vocabulary repertoire. He can also be helped to identify weaknesses and strengthen particular skillswhich help him with reading and understanding the meaning of words. Language conventions like punctuation are presented in a context that matches the children’s reading ability. Children are also given the opportunity to memorise and recognise high-frequency words as well as understanding the concept of sequencing in a story; the beginning, middle and ending part.
Above all, guided reading offers a wonderful opportunity for both the child and the fluent reader to share the joy of reading a story together in a supportive environment.
Clidas, J. (n.d.). Guided Reading with Emergent Readers. Bebop Books. Craig Low: NY. Retrieved March 2, 2010, from www.bebopbooks.com/images/pdfs/intro.pdf
Gagen, M. (n.d.). The Importance of Guided Reading. Retrieved March 2, 2010, from http://www.righttrackreading.com/guidedreading.html
Guided Reading. Retrieved March 2, 2010, from http://cksec.org/index2.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=50&Itemid=80
Guided Reading. Retrieved March 2, 2010, from http://wwwfp.education.tas.gov.au/English/guidedread.htm
Holly, J. (n.d.). Compendium of Instructional Strategies. Retrieved March 2, 2010, from http://home.earthlink.net/~jhholly/guidedreading.htm
Kennen, E. (August 11, 2007). Guided Reading Activities. Retrieved March 2, 2010, from http://primary-school-curriculum.suite101.com/article.cfm/guided_reading_activities
Saunders, B. (n.d.). Advantages of Levelled Book Reading. Retrieved February 25, 2010, from http://www.wordsplural.com/wordpress/learn-words/leveled-book-reading/
University of Arkansas at Little Rock Training Center ( 2003). Guided Reading. Retrieved March 20, 2010, from https://www.msu.edu/user/tarjason/What%20is%20Guided%20Reading.pdf
 Saunders, B. (n.d.). Advantages of Levelled Book Reading. Retrieved February 25, 2010, from http://www.wordsplural.com/wordpress/learn-words/leveled-book-reading/
 National Reading Panel’s Teaching Children to Read: Summary Report www.nationalreadingpanel.org/publications/summary.htm cited in Gagen, M. (n.d.). The Importance of Guided Reading. Retrieved March 2, 2010, from http://www.righttrackreading.com/guidedreading.html
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