Guided Reading is an important part of the Early Years classroom in primary schools across Australia. For those of you unfamiliar with Guided Reading, it involves the teacher working with a small group of students (around 4 or 5 is best) who are of similar reading ability for around an hour a day. Each day the teacher works with a different group, and other students participate in rotational literacy activities throughout the week. So, by the end of the week, all groups have worked with the teacher at least once.
Students are regularly assessed to determine what reading level they are working at and appropriate Guided Reading books are selected for each group on a weekly basis.
I often discuss with colleagues what they do AFTER the book has been read during Guided Reading. While some teachers read the book and then swap groups and work with another group of students in the same one hour session, I prefer to complete a thorough follow-up activity with the one group. A popular activity is giving the students a commercially produced worksheet based on the Guided Reading book but I like to be a little more focussed and actually work with the students. Some activities I often do are….
- Vocabulary match up: I write a list of new/unfamiliar words on the board while we are reading the book. I write the meanings of each word and students have to work together to match up each word with its meaning.
- Dictionary task: As above, but instead of me writing the meanings of the words, students search for the meanings using dictionaries.
- True and False: Students make up their own true and false questions about the book.
- Adjectives/verbs/nouns: Find as many adjectives/nouns/verbs as they can from the book.
- I often use websites or activities on the IWB that relate to the book we have just read. For example, if it was a fiction book with characters, I might get students to complete a character profile on the website Character Scrapbook.
- ReadWriteThink has many fantastic activities for junior primary classrooms. Sometimes I have students complete an activity from this resource, my students particularly enjoy Construct A Word. It is suitable for Prep, Grade 1 and Grade 2 students.
Obviously there are many types of activities you can do as a follow up to Guided Reading but I really believe it is an important time to spend with each reading group. The activities you choose should be relevant, challenge the students’ thinking skills and focus on a variety of key literacy areas (vocabulary, comprehension, word building, spelling etc). It is a great opportunity to work with students in areas of literacy that are at their own level.