Since reading levels vary, guided reading enables you to work with small groups of students at similar instructional reading levels, and helps them achieve success. Irene Fountas and Lesley University faculty will provide you with information on implementing guided reading in your classroom.
Guided reading is a teaching context in which teachers work with small groups of students reading at similar instructional levels, providing them with problem-solving support with level-appropriate texts. Guided reading was first developed by educators in New Zealand in the 1960's and later came to this country where several people, including Irene Fountas and Gay Su Pinnell, developed it further over time.
Guided reading instruction leads readers forward because you "support each reader's development of effective strategies for processing novel texts at increasingly challenging levels of difficulty” (Fountas and Pinnell, 1996, p. 2). In the guided reading lesson, at the primary level, your students "take on novel texts, read them at once with a minimum of support, and read many of them again and again for independence and fluency” (p. 2). Working in small groups allows you to observe the individual reader and work one-on-one with your students to make informed observations and provide specific teaching, including facilitating conversation about the text among group members to increase understanding.
Guided reading varies slightly depending on the grade and the reading level of each group, but there are essential components that support all successful guided reading lessons:
Since Gay Su Pinnell and I published our first book on guided reading, more and more schools have been including guided reading as an important part of high-quality literacy education (Fountas and Pinnell, 2013, p. 268). In our latest article, "Guided Reading: The Romance and the Reality," published in the Reading Teacher (Dec. 2012/Jan. 2013), we identify "three big areas that offer new learning in the refinement of teaching in guided reading lessons, bringing together the romance in guided reading with the reality of its depth" (p. 272–278).
Fountas, I. & Pinnell, G. (1996). Guided reading: Good first teaching for all children. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann.
Fountas, I.C. & Pinnell, G. (2001). Guiding readers and writers: Teaching comprehension, genre, and content literacy. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann.
Fountas, I. & Pinnell, G. (2006). Teaching for comprehending and fluency: Thinking, talking, and writing about reading. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann.
Pinnell, G.S. & Fountas, I.C. (2011). The continuum of literacy learning, grades preK–8: A guide to teaching. Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann.
Fountas, I. & Pinnell, G. (2013). Guided reading: The romance and the reality. Reading Teacher, 66 (4), p. 268–284.
Guided Reading in a Primary Classroom
Guided Reading in an Intermediate or Middle Classroom
Research and Outcomes
Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative
The Center for Reading Recovery and Literacy Collaborative
Phone: 617.349.8424 or 800.999.1959, ext. 8424
29 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Read our two blog posts by Irene Fountas regarding text levels:
Text Levels: Tool or Trouble? (October 2013)
More on Text Levels: Confronting the Issues (October 2015)