Guided Reading

What is Guided Reading?

Rather than listening to every individual child read, one at a time, teachers read with small groups of up to 6 pupils who all have a similar reading ability. This small group teaching of reading strategies is called ‘guided reading’. Although guided reading sessions can vary depending on the age and needs of the pupils, they are all similar in several ways:

  • Pupils are grouped by reading ability
  • All pupils in the group have a copy of the same book/text
  • The level of the text offers challenge to all pupils within the group (as a teacher supports the reading)
  • The teacher introduces the text and learning focus for the session (eg working out word meanings/ scanning to locate answers/ predicting events…). Shared demonstration of of the learning focus may happen here.
  • Pupils read (silently, aloud, to themselves, to their peers)
  • The teacher listens to each child and intervenes in order to move the learning on (with a focus on the objective of the session) – they may prompt, question, provide a strategy, involve another pupil etc. During this phase observation/notes are taken about the skills/difficulties demonstrated by each pupil.
  • The teacher will ‘test’ pupil understanding/ability to demonstrate the taught learning focus by asking questions of the group and of individuals
  • Learning is summarised and assessed with the pupils and next steps maybe set.

The Big Benefit of Guided Reading

With guided reading, teaching can be streamlined to meet the individual needs of each pupil within a group. Teaching is easily managed in small groups and the teacher is able to give individual attention to the group members.

Guided Reading at Russell Scott

Guided reading happens daily in every year group. Sessions last between 20 and 40 minutes and all groups read with a teacher at once twice a week. Groups that need more support with their reading, have extra guided reading sessions.

Key Stage 2

Guided reading in our junior classes happens as part of a reading carousel; all pupils are involved in reading tasks for 30-40 minutes each day (eg a comprehension card, a teacher set task about the book the group is reading, a pupil lead reciprocal reading group etc) – one group reads with the teacher.

The teacher’s group will focus on the development of one or more of twelve key reading skills:

Understanding Words

Finding Information

Identifying the Main Idea


Finding Similarities and Differences





Cause and Effect

Fact and Opinion

Point of View and Purpose

We are currently developing a ‘Reciprocal Reading’ approach to our guided reading in the juniors, where pupils are encouraged to predict, question, clarify and summarise throughout the reading process. We want the pupils to be more in control of their own reading experience and understanding of texts; to come up with their own questions to aid understanding, rather than relying on a teacher to control the ‘unpicking’ of what they have read.

Other Reading

Reading skills are also reinforced across the entire curriculum eg reading in science, history etc



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