How to Teach Guided Reading

Primary grade teachers use guided reading to teach their students to become good readers. Guided reading is a teaching technique that involves a teacher working with a group of his or her students who read at similar levels. The teacher chooses books that enable students to read with 90 percent accuracy, but still provide some challenge. Guided reading helps young students adopt different strategies as they learn how to read, such as picture and context clues, relationships between sounds and letters and word structure. Older students, who are learning new ways of studying and information gathering, can learn to use guided reading as a way of accessing information.


  1. Image titled Become a Health Inspector Step 1
    Teach your primary grade students the basics of guided reading.
    • Review letters and letter sounds with the class so students can sound out words.
    • Review sight words so students can recognize them.
    • Show students how to use pictures as cues for the context of the story.
    • Remind students to look for word clues if they start to have trouble reading their texts.
  2. Image titled Teach Guided Reading Step 2
    Divide your primary-grade students into groups of 4 to 6 students. Make the group smaller--3 to 5 students--if you are working with first grade students.
    • Select a text for the guided reading group.
    • Check your book choices to make sure they match the students' knowledge base, are interesting, give some challenges so students get practice in problem-solving and encourage your students to move to the next step in reading.
    • Give each student a copy of the book.
  3. Image titled Incorporate a Business in Florida Step 3
    Guide each student during the guided reading time.
    • Move around and sit with each student, giving small "reminder" clues to any students who are having trouble reading their texts.
    • Ask the student to read his or her text to you. If he or she gets stuck, say, "Does that make sense? Try that sentence one more time. Look at the beginning of the word and sound it out."
  4. Image titled Get a Drivers License in Nevada Step 4
    Teach students how to predict what may happen next.
    • Read a sentence from the book out loud.
    • Tell the group, "I think _____ will happen next because of what I just read and because of the picture on the page." You are now inferring what may happen.
  5. Image titled Liquidate Assets Step 7
    Time each guided reading session, keeping it short for younger students in primary grades.
    • Keep guided reading sessions at 15 to 20 minutes each for reading groups in the second grade.
    • Limit guided reading sessions for Kindergarteners and first graders to 15 minutes.
  6. Image titled Choose a Kindergarten Step 6
    Show the group how to recognize print concepts--capitalized letters, spacing between words and the different punctuation marks, if your students are in second grade.
    • Teach students that the first letter of the first word of each sentence gets capitalized.
    • Explain to your students that different punctuation marks mean different things.
    • Teach the class what periods, question marks and exclamation marks mean.
    • Explain to your class that books are written with spaces between the words so readers can recognize each word.
  7. Image titled Run a Trucking Business Step 3
    Hold another guided reading session after teaching your students the basics of punctuation, capitalization, spacing and prediction.
    • Sit with each student and listen to each one read.
    • Offer your help to a student if he or she is having trouble reading a sentence or a word.
    • Review the basics with this student.
    • Ask the student to read from his or her text again.


  • After guided reading sessions, ask the class questions about the story. This helps you determine their reading comprehension.
  • Guided reading can be used with students in middle school and high school as you teach them how to read texts, study and look for specific information.
  • For older students--in second grade--give reading prompts and ask questions about the story.


  • Set up each group so students are at similar reading levels. If you pair a beginning reader with a more advanced reader, the beginning reader may become discouraged.

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