This semester in READ 6309 students explored components of a strong reading program. As part of their work, they were asked to contribute to our blog.
By S. Garza
Janet Allen chose to open the chapter in Yellow Brick Roads on guided reading well when she decided to show how it was different from shared reading. When I began reading this book I needed the clarification that she provided on these two terms. She had defined shared reading in the previous chapter as a teacher reading a text with the students following along with their own copy of the text and it is usually a relatively uninterrupted reading. A guided reading of the text, however, is done with the intent to stop to ask questions, to make connections, to think of strategies, and to make predictions. There is also the difference that a shared reading is usually intended for the entire class and a guided reading is meant for a small group that needs help with a particular comprehension strategy.
Allen shows us one of her guided reading experiences with a group of students. One of the parts that struck me the first time that I read the chapter and when I read it again is that the students do the reading on their own. Allen had to find a way to copy the story onto strips so that the students would not read ahead of her for this particular guided reading activity. She was working on having them make and check predictions. If she had students that could read much faster than the others then they would be able to find the answers out if they had all of the text.
Allen labeled a section in the chapter “New Role for Students” and I found it very fitting. I liked it because I agreed with the Allen that students need a different purpose for reading than just to see what happens at the end. We want our students to be able to make connections to what they read, to ask questions, and to have an experience with what they read. There is also a “New Role for Teachers.” Just as students need to build new ways to become better readers we also need to become better teachers. Many of us may already have some of this knowledge and some of us may not. It is ok as long as we are willing to learn and change to help ourselves and our students. We need to make sure that we don’t start reading to them in order to save time during the guided reading and that we don’t turn the questions into comprehension questions either. The focus of the guided reading should be on a particular comprehension strategy and not just the comprehension of the story.