One in three children have trouble with learning to read (Adams, 1990). Fluent reading is what allows students to increase their word recognition and comprehend what they are reading (National Reading Panel, 2000), furthermore, research has shown that if a child has trouble reading in early elementary they will still have difficulties in fourth and fifth grade. (Juel, 1988), because of this many schools have started interventions with struggling students.
One of these interventions is Guided Reading. Guided Reading focuses on more time reading text and less instruction time, instead, utilizing mini lessons (Fountas & Pinnel, 1996). One of the trademarks of guided reading is the goal of the teacher instructing students on strategies that will make them a more independent reader. Teachers do this through targeted instruction and groups made up of similar reading levels, ensuring that each child gets the differentiated instruction that is needed.
The purpose of this study is to look at the effects of Guided Reading on student achievement and specifically, see if Guided Reading is an effective strategy for improving student achievement in kids that are at risk of reading difficulties.
Review of Relevant Literature
The following review of literature addresses both current and historical mindsets on Guided Reading and if it is an effective strategy to implement with struggling readers. Guided Reading has been found to be effective at helping children improve fluency ( Pieter Reitsma, 1988). Students also benefit from working with their teachers directly (Anderson, Mason, and Wilkinson, 1991). This could be because students that are struggling with reading are less likely to change their strategies by themselves (Schwartz, 2005) and instead need direct intervention. The teacher decides what to work on with each group so it can be tailored to individual students. Overall the goal of guided reading is to teach students strategies to decode words, understand challenging sentences, and ultimately how to use these strategies independently (Fountas & Pinnell, 1996)
Studies have found that Guided Reading benefits students in that they are exposed to more reading practice and higher-level texts (Allington, 2002). Guided Reading also allows teachers to target specific areas to work with their students. Anderson, Mason, and Wilkinson (1991) found that when teachers used Guided Reading lessons to target meaning, such as asking students to predict an outcome of the story, students had better comprehension of the text.
Parts of Guided Reading
Selecting a text that the student can read 91-94% of the words and comprehend 60-75% is vital for the success of Guided Reading (Opitz & Ford, 2001). This gives students the support of the teacher along with a challenging text. When a student spends a lot of time decoding the text then it degrades the opportunity for them to problem solve. Books should be chosen with the students level as well as what the focus of the lesson will be (Fountas & Pinnell, 1996).
The teacher should group students by looking at their individual needs and reading skills. This allows for differentiated instruction and is the best practices for helping children improve (LeShack, 2005).
The teacher can assess her students formally or informally. If the student scores below 90% then this shows that the text is too hard while if the student scores 90%-94% this shows that the text is in the instructional range for that student (Fountas & Pinnell).
The research shows that guided reading improves fluency, therefore, improving comprehension of students. The researcher would like to narrow the research to find if Guided Reading would be an effective intervention for students at risk of reading difficulties.
The purpose of the following study is to analyze if guided reading an appropriate effective strategy for improving struggling students reading.