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Your Career• 3 Min read

18th October 2020

How To Do Guided Reading

Guided reading is a teaching strategy designed to support readers of all abilities in their journey towards fluent reading and comprehension. The National Curriculum contains statutory requirements for teaching reading, but the exact method is left for teachers to decide. Guided reading continues to be one of the more popular ways of teaching reading, with a relatively high rate of success and a huge number of specially designed resources to support teachers choosing this method.

What Is Guided Reading?

Guided Reading puts students with similar ability in groups with the same text to read independently for a set period of time. After reading, teachers lead a discussion around the text, which might include comprehension checks or asking pupils to suggest what might happen next. Reading materials are chosen based on either the group or whole class ability and could be a short book or an excerpt. Students read, silently or at a ‘soft whisper’, alongside the other members of the group.  Teachers are present to help explain meanings or pronunciation if a student requires it. Learning or discussion activities can occur when everyone in the group has completed reading.

 The method elevates students to be able to read more challenging texts fluently, and aides comprehension with support before, during and after the set reading time.

What Are The Benefits?

  • Pupils can apply their own reading strategies independently
  • Supports independent enjoyment of reading
  • Readers gain confidence in their own ability through successful sessions
  • Discussion before and after connects the text to the knowledge that pupils already have
  • Assessment is possible both class-wide and individually

Great ideas for setting homework to support in-class learning: Creative Homework Ideas

How To Support Students In Guided Reading

Each guided reading session should be around 20 minutes long – this is the optimum time for a high concentration activity in younger pupils.

Select A Suitable Text

Choose a book or piece of writing that is easy enough for the majority of the group to read without support. Try to strike a balance between too easy for the majority of your class or too hard! It may help to engage struggling pupils with topics that align with their own interests or that fit into other topics the class is learning.

Introduce The Text

 Give your students a brief introduction on what they will be reading and any new words or concepts that may appear in it. Picking out anything that may cause confusion and addressing it beforehand will give pupils more confidence to read independently.


As the class reads to themselves, lookout for any signs of difficulty such as excess fiddling or fidgeting. Pupils may struggle with individual words or concepts within the text, so be prepared to offer individual support.

Check Comprehension

Once the guided reading session is over, there’s an opportunity to check comprehension. This could take the form of asking straight comprehension questions, discussing concepts raised in the text, checking pupils understanding of inference, discussing character interpretation or making predictions as to what might happen next in the story.

Guided reading is an effective way to teach reading to primary pupils if it’s done correctly and with continuous assessment. Pupil progress should be reviewed regularly and movement between ability groups fluid as pupils develop their reading ability.

We hope this article has given you some insight into what guided reading in the classroom might look like. If you are looking for more inspiration to encourage great reading habits in your pupils, check out our Reading Displays Pinterest board!

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