Should Guided Reading Go Away?

Mark Barnes posted on his ASCDedge blog this week about guided reading highlighting the top 5 reasons why it should be eliminated. You can check it out here.

Reason 5: Guided reading doesn't teach reading. True, in most of my guided reading groups I'm teaching comprehension strategies or it's a skills group. Whether or not it needs to happen within the structure of guided readings, I'm not so sure what structure you would use. I do agree that students need to be reading "just right" books and not doing worksheets.

Reason 4: It's boring. Well I have to agree. If your doing the same thing day in day out; you would be too. I think this is where Daily 5 comes in to play. Students are working on authentic tasks not worksheets. 

Reason 3: Guided reading holds readers back. I can see when your sending 3 or 4 weeks beating a novel to death a problem. But if your groups are moving through several books a week, their not going to be bored. I think you have to balance the need to work on comprehension and the goal of finishing a classic novel. 

Reason 2: It's all about teacher control. We tell students what they are going to read and don't provide them with choice. I want my students to find a love for reading. It's hard enough getting them to read anything but they have to have choice. I like pulling three books from their guided reading level and say here pick--majority rules. 

Reason 1: It teaches students to hate books. Barnes found that by creating a year-long independent reading project students read more. I'm not sure that using guided reading to teach comprehension strategies means than students will hate reading. But I do know that if I had to spend several weeks, reading a boring novel, and pulling everything last this out of it--I would hate it. 

There is no easy way to make sure students learn to love reading. Is not using the structure of guided reading the way to teach reading? Barnes has pointed out that when we don't push students when their are in small group reading, give them choice over what they are reading,  how they will prove what they know, they will not find a love for reading. I don't know. What are your thoughts? Hey, be one of the first four visitors of leave me a comment and I'll share with you my new High Speed Addition: Sports. Oh-make sure you me your email. 


  1. Very interesting. I wonder what sort of guided reading groups he has been in? Or maybe it's just because I teach 2nd, but we don't do worksheets at all. We work with post-its and rich discussion and phonics games. We spend maybe three days on a book and do a writing/craftivity with it at the end. I can see where leveled groups are not as effective as strategy based groups like in the CAFE system, but I don't think I agree that if you hand a kid a book and step away they are going to learn to read. Wasn't that the Whole Language fiasco?
    The Meek Moose

  2. I suppose I agree with him to some extent. I really believe in the power of the workshop approach. Kiddos are reading self-selected books at their level, the teacher is supporting the children to gain the skills needed to move to the next level. This is the format I use in my classroom...but I also do some guided reading procedures too. I group kiddos according to needed skills, & we work in the same texts. I do try to choose texts that they find engaging, though. I like to think that I am using the best of both worlds. Perhaps in many classrooms, it's not so much "guided reading" that's being employed, but guided practice.
    I'm interested to read others' thoughts on this, too.

    Primary Inspired

  3. Thanks Heather and Brenda for stopping by. I've sent you my new High Speed Addition game.



About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.
Follow on Bloglovin
Special Ed. Blogger

I contribute to:

Search This Blog