Irene Fountas and faculty share their expertise on what Guided Reading looks like in grades 3–8 classrooms.
Once students reach grades 3-8, Guided Reading lessons include texts with more complex structures and meaning. The challenge of meeting with all students as often as possible is a function of the number of groups, the length of the texts, and the time allowed for readers’ workshop every day. A workshop block of 60 minutes is optimal to allow for independent reading and small-group work.
The routines of readers’ workshop must be established so that students understand how to engage in independent reading and writing about reading while the teacher meets with small, guided reading groups (Fountas and Pinnell, 2001, pp. 329-252).
Once routines are established, and students have been assessed using a benchmarking system, like the Benchmark Assessment System, 2nd Edition (Fountas & Pinnell), teachers review assessment data and form tentative guided reading groups. Assessing students and establishing routines will be invaluable in providing you with the opportunity to meet with a small group of students without interruption.
In order to use Guided Reading as an effective instructional approach, a book room filled with copies of texts of different genres, structures, forms, and reading levels is essential.
Once classroom management is in place, assessments are completed, and the book room is in order, you are ready to begin working with your students in Guided Reading lessons.
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Fountas, I. & Pinnell, G. (1996). Guided reading: Good first teaching for all children. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Fountas, I.C. & Pinnell, G. (2001). Guiding readers and writers: Teaching comprehension, genre, and content literacy. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Fountas, I. & Pinnell, G. (2006). Teaching for comprehending and fluency: Thinking, talking, and writing about reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Pinnell, G.S. & Fountas, I.C. (2011). The continuum of literacy learning, grades preK–8: A guide to teaching. Portsmouth, NH: 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
This year brings the publication of the second edition of Guided Reading, a seminal text that revolutionized the way children are taught reading throughout the United States.