To get the most out of your guided reading sessions and ensure every child makes progress in reading, I recommend you use The Simple View of Reading as a device for organising your guided reading groups. This series of blog posts will give you practical advice on how to make guided reading work for every child in every year group, with the help of this simple guide. I’ll be taking you through some top tips for getting the most out of each of the groups.
Make guided reading work for every child in every year group
Summative levels and grades are for spreadsheets; they don’t tell us what the child needs. If you’ve ever organised reading groups based on children’s levels, you may know what I mean: just because six children are, say, 2C readers, doesn’t mean they all have similar needs.
By using The Simple View of Reading to represent what you would expect of a child at that child’s age you can then plot your pupils’ relative strengths and weaknesses in word-reading and comprehension on to the device and decide what each child needs to do to make progress in reading – formative assessment at its best!
If we organise grouping and provision based on relative needs in word-reading and comprehension, we help more children make more progress, and possibly make our lives a little easier at the same time.
Knowing that a group is good at reading the words but struggle with their understanding – or visa versa – enables you to provide what is needed, rather than trying to cater for diametrically-opposed needs in one short session.
When children are not adult-led, The Simple View of Reading device is also useful for making effective peer-support pairings. Put very simply, one child from the top left and one from the bottom right combine to make a good reader! Consequently they can learn from each other.
Thinking about children’s progress in reading in this way is a powerful way to feed back to parents on what their child needs to do next; we may even want to use it in conferencing with children themselves, so that they better understand how they are doing.
If you do map out your class in this way, look at it periodically (monthly or half-termly) and ask yourself: have I moved anyone? And in the right direction?
You’ll also find it a useful for tool to ensure you don’t keep giving children more of what they’re already good at.
Lindsay Pickton is an experienced independent Learning and Teaching Adviser, specialising in all aspects of primary literacy with a particular focus on raising standards in comprehension through effective guided reading and fostering the enjoyment of reading in children. Hear from Lindsay at a free event this term, focusing on how effective guided reading using Project X Origins can help you meet the higher standards of the new National Curriculum.
Read the next post in the series: How to focus your guided reading sessions for children who understand what they read but are held back by their word reading skills