You are in: Teaching & Learning » English & Literacy » KS1 & KS2 » The Literacy Framework » Reading » Guided Reading


Assessment of Pupils’ Reading

Assessment of Pupils’ Reading Strengths and Areas for Development

When assessing reading, care should be taken to create opportunities for pupils to show both word recognition and language comprehension skills c.f. the axes of the Simple View of Reading.

Ideas for assessing language comprehension without testing can be found in “Assessing Reading – Materials to Support the Teaching, Learning and Assessment of Reading” published by Herts for Learning.

Grouping Pupils for Guided Reading Sessions

Use the Simple View of Reading grid to sort pupils.

guided reading diagram

Group pupils that have similar development needs – this will allow for focussed direct teaching of the required skills.

In classes with a wide range of ability it may be necessary to organise sub-groups within groups.

Independent Activities

The independent activities that go on during the Guided Reading slot depend largely on the maturity and independence of the children. Generally the tasks should encourage interaction with books and texts, both professionally published and those produced by the children. Don't forget to include non-fiction.

BOOK BOX - should be a regular feature - try to change the books regularly, swapping with other classes or borrowing from libraries. Include the children's made books.

LEAFLETS and CATALOGUES - give items to search for (simple cards with words and pictures can be re-used with different publications).

LISTENING POST - should be a regular feature - make tapes of the class as they read the big book.

SEQUENCING CARDS - there are plenty around eg in ELS materials. For non-fiction try Sammy's Science House (EDMARK) software.

WORD/PICTURE MAPPING SHEETS - some published by Jolly Phonics etc.

PHONICS - some Phonics games can be used in small groups independently, but they would need to be familiar with them.

JUMBLED SENTENCES/SENTENCE MAKER - if using a set with a wide range of words, only use a few at first.

ICT - use programmes that track pupils' success rate to assist with assessment.

STORY MAPS - teach this in whole class sessions a few times - once they get the basic idea it can apply to almost any story.

CHARACTER MAPS - again, teach these in whole class sessions - children working towards level 3 need opportunities to think deeply about aspects of character.

WORD COLLECTION - beginners might look for a particular initial sound, more experienced readers might search for describing words, spooky words etc.

LETTERS/POSTCARDS - write to your favourite character or from one character to another (you could introduce this idea if you are reading one of the Jolly Postman books).

CHANGE THE ENDING – one for the more able – children sometimes express dissatisfaction or disappointment with a story ending, get them to write their own.

RE-READING OLD FAVOURITES – many children enjoy, even need repetition of their text repertoire.

SMALL BOOKS OF THE BIG BOOK – current or last week’s text – especially for those still building up their repertoire.

SCRAP BOOKS – cut and paste illustrations, cards, catalogues to be labelled or given captions.

REVIEWS – start with simple pictures plus captions showing favourite part of a book read – could use a simple generic frame to establish purpose and task.

NON-FICTION LAYOUT – re-arrange pictures and text boxes from a page of a non-fiction book, give the page a title.

ADVERTS – design a poster or advert to encourage others to read a fiction or non-fiction book or just to read!

READING JOURNALS – practice for KS2, talk to KS2 teachers for ideas.

FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS – something simple – a drawing or putting objects in special containers.


Strand 8 – Engage with & Respond to Texts

A balanced Guided Reading session also provides opportunities for pupils to engage with and respond to texts. Objectives in the renewed Literacy framework provide age related expectations for each year group. During independent Guided Reading time, word capture and text marking activities can engage and support word recognition skills, and the use of response journals and follow-up activities focus and develop comprehension skills.

Ideas for activities which support engagement with text can be found in “Assessing Reading – Materials to Support the Teaching, Learning and Assessment of Reading” mentioned above. Also, it is planned to add Response Journal prompts to this website in the near future.

Structuring Guided Reading Sessions

Word recognition development should focus on phonics in the first instance. Younger children will be involved in a rigorous phonics programme and Guided Reading sessions provide opportunities for them to use their skills. Older pupils may have gaps in their phonic knowledge and Guided Reading sessions provide opportunities for direct teaching to close the gaps.

Language comprehension development progresses from literal to inference and deduction to evaluation. Good reading comprehension starts with good listening comprehension and requires the teaching of additional linguistic skills: vocabulary knowledge, grammatical skills and awareness of idioms and figurative language. This progression is supported by structuring Guided Reading sessions with an equal balance between decoding text and talking around what has been read. Direct teaching of vocabulary in context enhances listening and reading comprehension.

Update from The Simple View of Reading

Guided Reading Update from the Simple View of Reading and the Renewed Framework for Literacy
  • Assessment of pupils’ reading strengths and areas for development
  • Grouping pupils for Guided Reading Sessions
  • Structuring Guided Reading Sessions
  • Strand 8 – Engage with and respond to texts