Guided Reading for the Younger Child

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Teachers and students of all ages understand the benefits of guided reading, but applying this concept to younger students that aren’t able to read yet can be difficult without the right tricks and methods.  Students do not have to be able to technically read to enjoy the benefits of a reading group, and can develop many skills that will help them in their future reading efforts.  Teachers in the classroom currently use many smaller parts of this instructional technique, but are just not aware that what they are teaching has an actual name for the method.

The following tips and tricks can help you to teach a younger child how to read, and how to enjoy reading while they are doing it.

The Materials

The first step is to find the right materials for your lesson.  Find a set of small books that are easy to read and fairly predictable for your initial lesson.  Your ultimate goal is to move your students through the motions of reading even though they are pretending rather than reading on their own.  You can find these books on the Internet, and many can be printed for free and then folded to resemble a small book.

Choose books that are extremely easy, and those that can be remembered by young children.  Your goal is to read a book that your child can then “read” on their own after one time together.  They don’t understand that what they are actually doing is memorizing, and they are excited about being able to read as they learn how books and print works.

Steps for a Reading Lesson

As you plan your reading lesson for your younger children or students, follow these steps to ensure that they are learning what you want them to learn.


  • Read the book out loud to your students.
  • Read the book out loud a second time, but leave out words as you go.
  • Read the book a third time and cover up the pictures if you are using a pocket chart, allowing your students to guess the missing word from the first letter of the word.
  • Pass the book out to your students and allow them to review them in their groups.
  • Help your students count how many words are in the title, and then have them count the total letters in the book’s title.
  • Have the children read the first sentence together if they can remember it.  Also, have them point to the words as they are read.
  • Teach the students to touch each word from left to right as they read.
  • Look for sight words located on any page of the book.
  • Ask questions about the story as you read to encourage comprehension.
  • Allow them to read the story alone once they have read it as a group.
  • Have them read the story to the person next to them.
  • Encourage them to take the book home and read it to their siblings or parents when they can.


Use these tips to help your young child start reading at an early age. Once you get the hang of teaching children these basic guided reading tactics, you can better gauge their guided reading levels in order to keep them engaged and challenged. Remember, it is never too early to start teaching children how to read and developing a love of reading within them.

Sarah Pinkerton

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