Monitoring and Assessment
Four Resources Guideposts
First Steps Reading
Analysis of Reading Strategies
Engagement: Empowering Teachers with Successful Strategies
Guided Reading is a strategy that supports students to discover
the meaning of a text for themselves. The amount of guidance given by
you, the teacher, varies according to the ability and confidence of the
In Guided Reading students with similar reading abilities or
students who need to acquire similar skills to be successful readers are
grouped together. Groups can also consist of students with common interests
or experiences. The groups are flexible and are kept small to encourage
interaction among the students and to allow you to observe individual
You may find familiarisation with Guided Reading useful as
an introduction to Cooperative Reading.
In Guided Reading the teacher leads the questioning of texts.
In Cooperative Reading students are empowered to ask their own
questions of the texts using the Four Roles of the Reader to
scaffold their questioning.
Engagement: Engaging Students in Purposeful Social Practices
A range of texts – including both narrative
and information texts
- integrates the Four Roles/Resources of the Reader
- allows the teacher to emphasise the different Roles/Resources
of the Reader according to the needs of the students or features
of the text
- enables the students to read more challenging texts than they
can read independently
- may be used with a variety of texts
- provides explicit teaching based on the identified needs of
- brings background knowledge, skills and experiences to the
fore to enable the students to make sense of what they are reading
and to make links with prior knowledge
- engages students in discussion about the content of the text,
the reading strategies they use and their understandings of the
- small needs-based/purpose-based groups encourage participation
by all students
- challenges students to work with more difficult texts than
they would be able to read independently
- texts may be chosen to focus on specific literacy features
or to link with topics in other curriculum areas
- select texts which are related to student interest and experience
or explore universal/contemporary themes and issues
Four Roles/Resources of the Reader
Based on the Four Roles/Resources
of the Reader developed by Freebody and Luke (1990), Guided
Reading involves students in the following repertoire of purposeful
Decoding the codes and conventions of written,
spoken and visual texts, eg:
- uses a range of strategies to support identification of words,
eg sounds in words, letter patterns, and word meaning
- develops knowledge of various literary devices, eg similes and
- attends to the function and use of various categories of words,
eg parts of speech, synonyms, prefixes
- becomes familiar with the structures and conventions of different
Understanding the purposes of different
written, spoken and visual texts for different cultural and social
- explores the features of different text types to determine
how an author’s purpose shapes the way the text is formed
- makes predictions about the text type based on features such
as text structure, headings, the author’s writing style
and use of vocabulary
Comprehending written, spoken and visual
- uses background knowledge to make meaning of the text
- understands the literal and inferential meaning of the language
used in the text
- uses picture and meaning clues to predict the storyline or text
Understanding how texts position readers,
viewers and listeners, eg:
- examines the writer’s point of view and develops their
own position on the text
- develops a critical response to the text
- identifies bias and stereotypes in texts
- constructs an alternative position to the one taken in the text
Four Resources Guideposts
Guideposts provide a useful assessment tool.
Implementing the Strategy
Guided Reading using a range of texts and genre
The first step in Guided Reading is gathering information about
the students that will enable you to group the students effectively and
to identify the learning needs of the students. This information can be
gathered from the First
Steps Reading Developmental Continuum, an Analysis
of Reading Strategies on a known text, or from classroom observations
of student reading behaviour.
Guided Reading groups should be small, 2-8 students. From the
information collected the teacher makes decisions about the composition
of the group. This can be based on the student’s reading ability, skills
to be developed or common interests. The groups are temporary and should
be reviewed regularly.
Selection of text
Select the text with a particular teaching focus in mind. The text may
be chosen for its text features, language features or understandings it
may develop. The text should support students by having sufficient familiar
features that they feel successful while being challenged to develop new
skills. The aim in Guided Reading is that all students be able
to read the text successfully with teacher support. There should be enough
copies of the text for each student to have their own copy.
The teaching focus is determined by the needs of the particular group
of students. The focus may be one or more aspects from one or more Roles/Resources
of the Reader, eg Code breaker – develops knowledge of
various literary devices such as similes and metaphors; Text analyst –
constructs an alternative position to the one taken in the text.
The Guided Reading Lesson
Introduce the text
Allow the students to have a quick look at the text. Discuss the title
and any predictions the students can make about the genre and possible
content of the text. Encourage the students to discuss what they already
know about this topic or genre. Identify any words or features you feel
may cause problems for the students and assist them to problem solve.
Examples of Questions
- Why do you think the author chose this title? (Text analyst)
- Can you predict what genre this text is written in and what
it might be about? (Text user)
- What text features would you expect to find in this genre?
- How can you find information in this text? (Text user)
- What words can you see in the text that have prefixes/suffixes?
- What word can you see in this word that will help you work
it out? (Code breaker)
- What does the title/cover suggest that this text is about?
For further examples of questions see Learning
Reading the text
The reading of the text is done silently, allowing the students to check
their predictions. While the students are reading silently, move around
the group assisting where necessary. Encourage the students to use known
strategies to problem solve on the text.
Revisiting the text
When all the students have had an opportunity to read the text the group
can now explore the language, discuss the features, mood, style, etc,
and reread to make sense of the text or to find evidence to support their
opinion. Direct the students’ attention to specific features of the text
to build their knowledge or to allow them to apply strategies they already
have. During this time the teacher is facilitating a discussion with open-ended
Examples of Questions
- What letter pattern is familiar in this word? (Code breaker)
- Have your predictions of the type of text been confirmed or
rejected? Why? (Text user)
- What are the main ideas? (Text participant)
- Were any of your questions answered by the text? (Text participant)
- What clues are in the text to help you work out what this word
means? (Code breaker)
- How are the photographs used? What do they make you think?
- How is this word used in this context? (Code breaker)
- What do you notice about the way the author started this story?
How did it suit its purpose? (Text user)
- How is the language in this text similar to or different from
other examples of this genre you have read? (Text user)
- How would the story be different from another point of view?
For further examples of questions see Learning
Responding to the text
Don’t expect that students will respond to every text they read. You
may like to invite students to respond to the text orally or through an
activity. The response may be individual, paired or a group response.
Record observations of student reading behaviours on the Checklist.
The Checklist observations may include the current teaching focus and/or
specific reading behaviours identified for review.
After the Guided Reading Lesson students should have the opportunity
to revisit the text over the next couple of weeks.
Reflect on the lesson and think about the effectiveness of the teaching
and how well the group worked together. Make notes on strategies you observed
the students using and things you think they need to know next.
Classroom Protocols for Guided Reading
- A Guided Reading lesson usually takes about 20 minutes although
you may need to allow for some extra reading time for longer text.
- Explicit teaching is needed to
allow the students to be aware of their focus for the lesson. They need
to be given time to pull together what they already know about the topic
- The social environment is vital to the implementation of a Guided
Reading lesson. Students need to be comfortable with taking turns,
accepting the opinion of others especially where it differs from your
own, and supporting each other in sharing views and opinions. Students
develop skills that enable them to build on and to question each other’s
- The organisation of the room is important as the other students in
the class need to be able to work apart from the Guided Reading
group so that they don’t interrupt the conversation. The Guided
Reading group needs to be seated where they can see every member
of the group, either on chairs in a circle or seated around a table.
- During the ‘Reading the Text’ stage you have the opportunity to hear
the students read. This can be done unobtrusively by having a signal
for the students to read aloud such as when you sit beside a student,
that student reads aloud until you move on to the next student.
- One of the advantages of Guided Reading is that it allows
you to observe and note student reading behaviour. It also allows you
to provide immediate feedback to students.
Guided Reading Checklist
Click here to download the
checklist below in Microsft Word format (31K).
Student Reading Behaviour Checklist
Fountas, I.C. & Pinnell, G.S. (2001). Guiding Readers and Writers
Grades 3-6. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Fountas, I.C. & Pinnell G.S. (1996). Guiding Reading Good First
Teaching for All Children. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Hornsby, D. (2000). A Closer Look at Guided Reading. Armadale:
Guided Reading for Fluent Readers. [Video]. (1995). Wellington,
NZ: Learning Media.
Learning Media Ltd