Guided reading is a teaching approach designed to help individual readers build an effective system for processing a variety of increasingly challenging texts over time.
Guided reading is not an exercise to practice reading skills. It is research-based, professionally energized, highly targeted, scaffolded reading instruction that propels all students toward confident, independent reading of high quality grade level books across a diverse array of literature and informational genres. Reading well means reading with deep, high quality comprehension and gaining maximum insight or knowledge from each source.
Using benchmark assessments or other systematic observation, the instructional reading level of each student is determined. The teacher forms a temporary group of students that are alike enough in their development of a reading process that it makes sense to teach them together for a period of time. In selecting a text for the group, the teacher uses the level designation; thinks about the strengths, needs, and background knowledge of the group; and analyzes the individual text for opportunities to support students' successful engagement with the meaning, language, and print of the text. The teacher uses the text to help the children expand what they know how to do as readers.