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Whole Class Guided Reading

You can use whole class guided reading sessions to develop the children’s literacy skills when working with a range of text styles and genres. It can help you target individual children by using other pupils to model and demonstrate good reading habits and provide vocabulary and contextual support during discussions.

The guided reading activities can supplement work in full English lessons by allowing the class to extend their thinking and understanding about a particular style of text. Whole class guided reading allows an efficient use of classroom time so that you can concentrate on one particular literacy activity or skill to focus the children’s progress and make it easier to assess and develop further lessons. You can partner whole class work with individual reading sessions during the course of the week when each child gets to read and discuss their responses to a text with a teaching assistant or parent helper. Use a system of checklists to ensure that every child gets an opportunity to take part in the whole class guided reading sessions by reading aloud parts of the text and directly answering some of the discussion questions.

Text Choices
There are two options to use for the text that the class can work with during a whole class guided reading session. You can either continue working on the text that the children are exploring during full English lessons or you can use the sessions to introduce the children to different types and styles of texts throughout the school year. If you choose to work with a text that the class are already studying then you will need to plan carefully the part of the text that the children will discuss during a whole class guided reading session so that it matches what the class has already covered. You can use the sessions to help develop the children’s general understanding about the plot development or you can get the children to focus on one section of the text for a closer inspection. If you choose the second option then you can select a number of different text styles to rotate throughout the school year such as fiction stories, poetry and non-fiction texts such as newspapers, recipes and magazine articles.

Reading Around the Class
Whole class guided reading can help you assess the progress of individual children by getting them to read aloud sections of the text before a class discussion. Use a checklist to ensure that all children get an opportunity to practise reading aloud part of the text throughout the course of the school year. You should also be mindful that some pupils might be reluctant to read to the whole class. One way of targeting these children is by building up their confidence by reading aloud in a small group setting before reading aloud to the class. You should also match the children’s reading abilities to the text that you have selected the class to read and discuss. Spend time discussing strategies that the children can use when reading aloud to read and understand unfamiliar vocabulary and follow the context of a story or non-fiction text.

Paired Reading Strategies
You can avoid some of the pressure of reading around the class by getting the children to work with a partner to read the text before the whole class discussion. Encourage the children to work together to read alternate paragraphs from the text and support each other in reading and understanding any unfamiliar vocabulary. You can then hover next to different pairs of children so that you assess and develop individual reading skills and abilities. Before the children start reading the text, you can provide the class with a list of questions and topics that the class will be discussing later in the session. If the children are working with a photocopied text then you can allow them to highlight parts of the text to indicate sections that can answer different topics and questions.

Class Discussions
Following a reading of the text, you can get the spend time discussing the children’s responses to the text. Encourage the children to spend time thinking about their responses to a particular question with a partner before sharing their ideas with the whole class. You can begin a class discussion by getting the children to focus on the structure and content of the text using some closed questions before getting the class to concentrate on their responses to some more open questions to explore why and how things happened in the text. During a whole class guided reading session, you can get the children to work with a partner to record their own questions about a text before sharing them with the whole class. Spend time discussing with the class the most effective questions to use to help investigate and interrogate a text.

Follow-up Activities
If you use a text that the class are working with in full English lessons then make sure that you use topics that the children have been discussing to direct the preceding literacy activities. For example, if the children have discussed predictions about the sequencing of a fictional text then the class can discover if their predictions were correct as they explore the remainder of the story, Similarly, if the class have listed the text features of a non-fiction text that they have read in a guided reading session then they can check whether these same features can be found in other similar texts explored during a full English lesson. You can also set the class some homework activities related to the whole class guided reading sessions by getting them practise writing letters in responses to some of the events in a fictional story or by producing their own examples of a non-fiction text.

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