Guided reading is a popular and highly effective strategy for helping students become proficient and masterful readers. It’s one component of an overarching shared reading block and it’s power lies in providing strong support for small groups of beginning or struggling readers.
During guided reading the teacher introduces reading strategies such as making predictions , using contextual clues, recognizing sounds and letters, understanding word structure, and more – all designed to help students construct meaning from text. The ultimate goal is for students to internalize these strategies and become skilled, fluent, life-long readers.
There are three basic steps in guided reading: Before reading, during reading and after reading. For each step there are abundant strategies to help achieve it’s purpose. For example, the purpose of the “before reading” step is to set the objective for reading, analyze new vocabulary, and make predictions.
Activities for making predictions:
Students make predictions all the time though they may not realize it. They predict what there friends will say when they score a winning point. They predict what’s for dinner when they come home to warm smells from the kitchen. People are able to make predictions based on prior knowledge, or information they already have. Once you teach your students the predicting strategy, they’ll be able to do the same with their reading.
Here are a few activities you can use in your classroom to help students become proficient at making predictions.
Use book or movie titles. Read students the titles of books they’ve never read before and ask them to make a prediction what the book is about. Then read the back cover or inside flap of the book out loud to see how close they came to the mark. You can do the same with movie titles and then read aloud a synopsis of the movie review.
Bring an unusual object to class. Show students the object and have them predict what it could be used for and how it works. While showing the object, point out structures or components that could be clues as to what it is without actually explaining how it works.
Read a section of text and then have students predict what is going to happen next. Have them write their predictions on sentence strips and place each prediction on the wall. Revisit the predictions once the action has been revealed in the story.
Explain to students that making predictions is like being a detective. They can find clues in the book title, the illustration on the front cover, as well as pictures inside the book to predict what the story is about. Students may be inclined to take the easy way out and say the book is about a princess or a dog but that’s not good enough. Have them also predict what a character will do or an important event that may take place.
When student know how to make predictions and use this skill prior to reading, they not only have a reason to read, but this knowledge will improve their comprehension. By activating prior knowledge they can get at the deeper meanings, learn to read between the lines, and take the first steps for developing a love for literature.