Differentiated Instruction During Guided Reading
It is important to give beginning readers saturated exposure to the
letters in the English language. They need to learn all the different sounds each letter makes, as well as the sounds of blends, digraphs,
and vowel patterns.
Alphabet Pages: Used to practice each letter sound and an associated anchor word.
Word Family Lists and Houses: Used to practice different groups of rhyming words and their word families.
White Boards: Used to practice letters, sounds, families, and features.
Making Words: Used to practice creating a variety of words using a given set of letters.
Magnetic Letters and Blends: Used to practice making words using various groups of letters and blends.
Phonics Big Books: Used to give additional practice with word families.
It is important to expose beginning readers to a great deal of practice with high frequency words. It is also important to
frontload the vocabulary needed to be successful at their individual
Dolch Word Lists: Used to practice high frequency words. They can be printed on cardstock and cut apart to be used as flashcards.
White Boards: Used to practice high frequency words and finding smaller words within larger ones.
Shared Sentences: Used to reinforce vocabulary. Each student starts with a paper and pencil. They write one word and pass their paper to the left. The next person adds a word. This continues until they each build a complete sentence. They then share their sentences.
Sentence Strips: Used to practice writing sentences containing new or unfamiliar words. Students begin by writing a sentence on a paper or white board. Discuss correct spelling and punctuation. After correcting, students rewrite their sentence on a strip. After they have practiced reading it, cut apart their sentence and have them reconstruct it.
Sight Word BINGO: Used to reinforce the high frequency words being taught.
Vocabulary Scrabble: Used to reinforce vocabulary. Give students a sheet of one-inch graph paper and a pencil. Using one letter per square, students take turns spelling familiar words in any direction. This can be a partner or group activity.
Flashcard Sentences: Used to reinforce vocabulary. Give each student a paper, pencil, and a flashcard. They should create sentences containing a minimum of four words. Students then share their sentences with the group.
It is important to provide beginning readers with texts that are at their appropriate reading level. Using leveled readers in small groups offers an environment in which
students can feel successful. They are not being asked to “Round Robin” read in a whole group
A few examples…
Introducing the Text
Use the following techniques to introduce the text:
Do a “Picture Walk” to discuss the illustrations Have students make predictions based on the pictures Give a sense of the story or the basic plot Call attention to the text features Preview challenging or tricky words
The First Reading
Students read the text independently and softly to themselves.
Teacher observes the group and coaches individual students as needed.
Teacher uses prompts when students get stuck or if something doesn’t make sense.
Teacher and students return to the text as a group to discuss, question, and clarify understanding.
The Second Reading
Teacher focuses on checking for comprehension.
Teacher writes 3-5 questions on a white board or chart. Give each student a white board and supplies or a paper and pencil. Students use their texts to reread and answer the questions. Depending on the level and abilities of the group, students can write, draw, or oral share their responses.
Teacher records observations on a record sheet to help determine what students need next.
Guide Notes: These are found in the back of many guided reading texts. They can be used to focus the learning.
Students reread the text with a partner.
Texts are placed in a book basket for familiar reading.
Other Things to Consider…
Comprehension Strategies: Teach students to –Monitor comprehensionMake connectionsAsk deeper questions InferVisualizeDetermine importanceSummarize
“Fix It” Strategies: Teach students to –
Figure out unfamiliar words by:1. Looking at the pictures
2. Skipping the word and going back to it
3. Looking at the first and last letter
4. Sounding it out
5. Looking for “chunks” in the word
Ask:1. Does this make sense?
2. Does it sound right?
If the story stops making sense, go back to an earlier part of the story and reread.
Additional ELL Supports
Use body movements and gestures as helpful reminders
Keep students involved
Use visuals including realia, photographs, and drawings
Use songs and poems
Give additional time to reinforce concept
Provide books on tape
Provide study sheets with big ideas/large concepts
Use specific language
Scaffold the learning as needed