Guided Reading

Reading is an integral part of any curriculum and guided reading provides children with the opportunity to develop their reading and comprehension of a wide range of texts.

Session time: 20 minutes four times a week

Top tips: 

  • The class should be split into four groups. The groups should be ability based but flexible.
  • The children should complete their work in silence excluding the group working with the teacher.
  • The teacher should choose a different text to read with each group depending on the ability of that group. Try to choose a range of different texts including fiction, non-fiction, poems, letters and instructions.
  • You should move through the four lesson cycle in order, even if a lesson is missed in a week so that one group do not miss out on a Guided Read with the teacher.
  • Note: In the first lesson of each term Group B will not have completed the Pre-Read when they read with the teacher. In addition in the first lesson of each term Group C will not be able to complete the Post Read as they will not have read the book yet therefore they should read in the library.

The four activities:

  • Pre-Reading Questions – independent

The children should choose a question from the pre-read box and stick it into their Guided Reading book. They should then answer the questions about the book that they are going to read with the teacher. They should answer these questions before they have read the book. Encourage them to answer the question in full sentences. Once they have finished answering the question they should start reading the book.

  • Guided Read – teacher

During this session the children should each have a copy of the same text. The text should be chosen based on the groups reading level. The teacher should ask the children questions about the text; it’s front cover, title, pictures or the blurb before starting to read the text for example:

Who is the author?

What do you think the text will be about?

What does the blurb tell us?

Who do you think the main character will be?

Then the children should all start reading the text to themselves. Whilst they are reading to themselves the teacher should spend a few minutes listening to each individual child read. They should allow the children freedom to hold the text and to read uninterrupted prompting only if really necessary. At the end of the read the teacher should give the child one positive and one thing to work on for next time.


The children can take it in turns to read out loud to the rest of the group. However if this happens the teacher must make sure that other readers do not laugh or correct the child who is reading as this can be very upsetting. However if done correctly this can build children’s confidence in reading aloud. The teacher also has the opportunity to ask questions to the whole group in the gaps between children reading.

How do you think that character feels?

What do you think will happen next?

How did that make you feel?

What does…mean?

What does the subtitle tell you?


The children and teacher can read the text out loud together. This can be effective for lower ability groups helping to increase their confidence and work through tricky words. The teacher should read tricky words loudly demonstrating good blending, pronunciation and text tracking.

Once the text or section of text has been read they should ask the group a few comprehension questions about the book for example:

What did you think about…?

What happened after…?

Which character did…?

What was your favourite part? Why?

  • Post-read – independent

The children should choose a question from the box and stick it in their guided reading book. They should then answer the question based on the book that they have just read with their teacher. Encourage the children to write the answer to the question in full sentences. Once they have finished they should choose another book from the library and read that quietly.


  • Post-read story map – independent

The children should stick a copy of the ‘Story Map’ sheet into their books. Then they should draw a picture into each box for the story they have just read with the teacher. They should draw in pencil as quickly as possible. Then underneath the drawings they should write a few sentences to describe what happens in each part of the story. Push the more advanced readers to focus on the sentences rather than the pictures. This exercise encourages children to develop their summarising skills.

  • Journal Writing – independent

During this time the children should write in their journals. They can write whatever they want in their journals and this work will not be marked. Make sure they are engaged in writing and not drawing. If children want to share their journals with you then that is good but don’t make it compulsory and don’t mark their work, instead comment on the content of the writing for example ‘wow what a fun weekend’.


Pre-read Questions

Post-read Questions

Story Map 

Assessment Sheet

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