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7 tips to help students become strong independent readers

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Are you and your students getting the most out of your guided reading lesson plans? Guided reading books for teachers like The Next Step Forward in Guided Reading by Jan Richardson are a great resource when you’re in need of inspiration or advice on how to help your students become strong, independent readers. Whether you’re looking for discussion starters or intervention suggestions to support reluctant readers, this book has everything you need to reach every student and ensure reading success.

Check out this collection of book lists for guided reading levels A to Z. 

When it comes to guided reading, it’s also important to simplify the process and develop a set of best practices to follow throughout the school year. To maximize your time with your young, aspiring readers, keep these seven guided reading strategies and tips in mind:

1.     Stay organized

Organization is key for any lesson or classroom initiative, but it’s especially important for guided reading. By having all your guided reading resources organized and easily accessible, you’ll save time and your lessons will be more manageable.

2.     Establish routines for independent study

A simple, set routine for independent reading is essential for an effective guided reading program. It takes daily practice, but the expectations you set for the rest of your students, whether it's paired reading or vocabulary practice, will become second nature, allowing you to meet with each reading group and maximize your time with them.

3.     Choose the right books

You don’t want to choose books that are too easy, and of course, you don’t want to choose books that are too difficult. Organized by level, these guided reading book lists are a great resource for finding books that will engage and interest all of your young readers. There are nonfiction lists, too!

4.     Preview pictures and illustration

Before reading the book, preview the pictures and illustrations to help your students think critically about what they’re about to read. By devoting a few minutes to a book’s visual language, you’ll help students understand the relationship between the story’s visual cues and its main ideas.

5.     Be a model

By reading aloud and modeling reading fluency, you can show students how enjoyable and exciting reading can actually be!

6.     Encourage writing and reflection

Writing about reading is a great way for young readers to organize their thoughts and develop their own ideas about what they’ve just read. Always have a few writing prompts ready that will inspire students to reflect upon a key concept they’ve just read about. This is especially useful if students express a genuine interest in what they’ve just read, which is why choosing the right books is so important. 

7.     Embrace flexibility

Every day is different, so it’s important to be flexible and adjust your lesson and book selection accordingly. Always having an extra guided reading activity at the ready to regain your students’ attention or fill in extra time is a smart strategy.

Guided reading is one of the most effective ways to help students become strong, independent readers. But most importantly, guided reading has the power to instill a love of reading among even your most reluctant readers. For more tips and strategies, check out these other guided reading resources from Scholastic.

Are you interested in CPD? Check out our other materials here.

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