Whole Class Guided Reading
The approach in a nutshell:
Instead of guided reading groups and a carousel of activities, pupils have three reading lessons per week as a whole class. These lessons:
Why is this better than guided reading?
How it works
Discrete reading sessions should last no more than 30 minutes, to ensure pupils remain engaged and to make a distinction between these sessions and English lessons.
Listening to pupils read
As an agreed whole school approach, staff avoid selecting individual children to read aloud during whole-class reading. 'Cold reading' an unfamiliar, difficult text can be a negative experience for pupils who are developing their confidence. Instead, we take opportunities to listen to individuals reading after they have read and modelled good practice. For example, they may:
Assessments are used to inform future teaching and learning and record how well each pupil has understood the text, the progress they've made, and what additional teaching is required to move him/her on. These records can then form part of the evidence when completing statutory teacher assessment.
“Each time we open a book with children it is an opportunity to walk into a new world together, to explore the inner workings of great literary minds and, as their guide, to point out to the children the sights and sounds that could so easily be missed by the untrained eye. These reading journeys are by far the most enjoyable aspect of my day...”
Whole-class reading sessions also mean that children of all attainment bands are immersed in the same high-quality literature and the discussions that these texts promote.
At Eastcroft Park, we believe the following seven points are crucial for effective whole class reading:
It is essential that less confident readers are exposed to the high-quality reasoning of more confident readers and become part of these discussions.
A good rule of thumb is that the text chosen should be between 12 and 18 months beyond the reach of higher attaining readers; that is to say, beyond the reach of their independent reading of it and comprehending of it.
Children will pick up good reading styles from teachers’ performances. Eventually, they will start to emulate you in their own performances.
Reading and listening to reading for long periods of time can be mentally taxing for some children. Interspersing longer stints of reading with paired discussions/independent follow-up tasks can help with this.
Targeted questioning is not only good for Assessment for Learning but also a good way to ensure all children engage with the lesson – if they don’t know who will be asked to provide a response then they are more likely to consider the question and make good use of their talking partner.
Children need to be able to say a response before they can write one; developing this skill at primary is vital for success at secondary. Teachers model and encourage children to make good use of sentence stems (eg," The author has used the word ___________ to suggest ____________ , as the word ________ has connotations of __________" )
A follow-up task is a good way for children to reflect on what they have read and an opportunity for the teacher to observe/assess the individual understanding of a piece.