Grouping for Guided Reading
You probably have found that your students have a range of reading
ability, even if your class is homogeneously grouped. How do experienced
teachers manage to address the needs of children with a range
of ability? How can they individualize when there are so many
students and so many reading levels in one room?
Grouping for instruction by reading level is of the utmost importance.
Students must receive instruction at their level for learning
to take place. Small group instruction allows you to know your
students' strengths and weaknesses and address their individual
How to perform an individual informal reading assessment:
Approx. 20 minutes per child
Two to three children per day
Two weeks to assess complete class
During independent reading time or center time.
Sample texts of approximately 100 words from a leveled text.
This could be a basal reader or children's trade book where
the reading level has been determined.
Photocopies of the samples for each child that you can write
on to record child's reading.
Several different levels of sample texts.
1. Tell the children you are going to ask each of them to read
to you so that you can help them become better readers.
2. Start with a sample text which, based on your prior knowledge
of the child, will not present too many challenges. If need
be start with easier text and work your way up.
3. Ask the child to read aloud to you while you follow along
with a copy of the text.
4. Record the child's errors: miscues, substitutions, omissions,
insertions and repetitions on his/her own sample of the text.
Do not include proper names. Repeating the error consistently
counts as one error. For example, if a child consistently read
the word "The" as "Then", count it as one error.
5. Count the number of errors per 100 words (approx.)
6. Use the following guide to determine the child's level:
| Per 100 words:
|| More than 5
|| Frustration Level
|| 3 to 5
|| Instruction Level
|| Less than 3
|| Independent Level
7. Check comprehension at the instruction level by asking
five questions about the text. The child will need to answer
four out of five of the questions to demonstrate 80% comprehension,
an acceptable level for instructional purposes.
Note: If a child can decode but doesn't demonstrate 80%
comprehension, assess the child's comprehension on a lower level.
Children should be able to comprehend at a level of 80% for
instructional purposes. Similarly, a child with 100% comprehension
should be tried on a more difficult level for instructional
Make a list of the students and the instruction level they have
achieved. Begin to cluster them into groups based on their level.
In general, I have found that I have at least three different
levels in one class. I usually limit my reading groups to 6
to 8 children who are on the same reading level. By grouping
students in such small numbers you establish an environment
in which learning can occur. You can address individual needs
and provide instruction at a level appropriate to each student's
level. Fewer students will "fall through the cracks."
I would encourage you to review the companion piece,
Managing Guided Reading Groups.
It should help you be more successful in your guided reading