The history of guided reading plans started in New Zealand around 1960. It was developed by two educators - Myrtle Simpson (inspector of school) and Ruth Trevor (National Adviser on Reading).
This idea was then incorporated by Tom Wright in the United States who secured the rights to the sunshine series of leveled books from New Zealand. Slowly, the guided plans started gaining momentum and spread across the globe bringing benefits to teachers and students.
Steps to Improve Reading Skills
Guided reading lesson plans are developed with an aim to improve the reading skills of students by use of strategies. Usually teachers start by working in small homogeneous groups where teachers analyze and work on the weak areas of students. According to literary educators, guided plans are followed in the steps outlined here.
Here, activity like connecting the dots is a great idea where the teacher relates the lesson to the student's personal experience so as to inculcate interest in reading. Explaining the text in easy to understand language is done so that the student can get the crux of the story, which in turn helps him/her to work on the unique words and phonics.
Encouraging Silent Reading
Through silent reading, the student can understand inferences, locate information pertaining to the story and set the purpose by reading the text. A teacher should encourage students to see the picture and decode the meaning of the text. Also, by encouraging students to ask questions, the teacher can get a brief idea of the student's thinking ability.
The teacher should ask questions about the story, which will help the child to strengthen his/her weak areas. Like in many kindergarten schools, a story is broken down and students are encouraged to draw the story into pictures and express their thoughts.
Rereading for Improving Fluency
Teachers motivate students to reread the story so as to improve the vocabulary and foster rhythmic reading. The idea is to relate minor details to the big picture.
Through this approach, a teacher can monitor the problems faced by the student in pronouncing difficult words. This is a widely practiced option, which enables the teacher to get the clear picture. The teacher can also progress to a more challenging text, if the students show progress in their current level.
The groups formed by the teacher are purely based on the assessment of individual student's needs. The groups are made with different age levels because the main problem is reading level.
Students are given opportunities to read fiction as well as non-fictional books where teachers monitor the progress achieved by the student. Though these plans have immense benefits, these do have certain disadvantages.
According to critics, these plans are time-consuming and taxing to teachers who are already burdened with school work. But these minor hindrances are discarded by the academic fraternity who feel that the plans can be tailor made to suit every student's requirement.
The main concept is not only to enhance reading comprehension abilities, but also to keep them busy. Guided reading lesson plans have been used from the past ten years and have produced positive results.
Through these plans, students have developed cognitive abilities and have become avid readers. Schools have always been considered as a second home to kids. In this home, as kids learn about many different activities, this plan certainly acts as a boon for the students, making school a wonderful experience.