Brandon, a first grader, read laboriously and often made mistakes. He added words that weren’t in the story and guessed based on the first letter. At the end of the book, he didn’t understand the story. How do you avoid these problems? Guided reading strategies are a part of how to teach reading effectively. With guided reading strategies, you can help a child improve his accuracy.
Guided reading for beginning readers
Before a child reads a phonics book, you can introduce the topic of the story to enliven the story. For example, if the child is going to read, “A Wish,” you can say:
“What are some of the best dreams you’ve had? Have you ever flown in a dream? A Wish is a story of a little girl that falls asleep at night and dreams of riding a butterfly over the country and out to the sea.”
Phonics books have limited language. Thus, they can sound awkward. The limited words in phonics books allow young kids to master fundamentals and incrementally build up their phonetic knowledge. Phonics books are a critical part of how to teach reading effectively. However, as an educator, try your best to bring these stories alive. Relate the plot to your child’s life. Explain the story concisely and clearly.
Teach sound-by-sound reading skills
TEXT: The cat ran to the mat.
STUDENT: The c-aaa-t cat rrr-aaa-nnn ran to the mmm-aaa-t mat. The cat ran to the mat.
In the above sample, the student says sight words in one utterance.
The student says each phonetic word sound-by-sound. Then, she blends the word. Sound-by-sound reading will eventually drop away. However, never encourage the student to subvocalize sounds. She will subvocalize naturally over time.
Lastly, the student repeats the sentence. This way, she can read a little faster and comprehend the story.
In guided reading, the student:
- says sounds (ex. mmm-aaa-t)
- blends sounds (ex. mat)
- rereads sentence (The cat ran to the mat.)
- says sight words in one utterance
Next, focus on sound corrections
Beginning readers make mistakes often. Struggling readers often develop poor reading habits. If a struggling reader isn’t sure how to decode a word, he’ll often guess based on the first letter. He also might guess based on context. These strategies result in awkward sentences like, “The care ran to the man.” instead of “The cat ran to the mat.”
If the student makes a mistake, highlight her error. CORRECT READING MISTAKES IMMEDIATELY. Prompt corrections allow kids to learn from their reading mistakes.
STUDENT: [says bat for bam] bat
TEACHER: [underline bam] Sound?
TEACHER: From the beginning.
In guided reading, young readers:
-read phonetic words sound-by-sound
-blend phonetic words
-say sight words in one utterance
-receive immediate feedback on errors
-get a brief summary (or re-reading) of the story so they can follow along with the plot
-receive lots of help from a reading coach