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Teaching Young Readers at School and at Home

Jul 19, 2008
Learning to read is a large and difficult task, but children can learn the skill quicker when properly guided by caring teachers and parents. There are several components of guided reading. It is usually taught in a small group of three to six students and the teacher provides an introduction to the material, reading strategies and assistance when the children need it. After everyone has read through the material, the teacher also tries to elicit a response from the students by asking questions about the text or starting a discussion.

In addition to providing the one-on-one attention that students need as they learn to read, guided reading creates a comfortable team environment for learning and teaching. The whole process also teaches children how to approach an unfamiliar text, get through difficult sections and review the material at the end. This is a valuable skill in and of itself because they will need to learn how to select reading material and draw lessons out of what they read in the future.

Praise is an important part of guided reading because it balances out the correction and feedback that students receive. Being recognized and praised for their achievements also builds confidence and makes reading an enjoyable experience.

Before guided reading even begins, teachers, parents and students need to find good books at the appropriate reading level. After all, when the story is too difficult for children to read, it is easy for them to get confused and frustrated. They will also lose sight of the plot which makes reading more boring for beginners.

Guided reading is primarily used by teachers, but there are ways that parents can encourage children to develop their reading skills at home as well. For example, taking the time to read bedtime stories or and a couple small books during the day can make books more attractive to your child. Obviously, building a family library will make it easier for your children to access those books. If you can't afford to stock a couple book shelves, libraries are still a great place to find the books your children love. It might not be as fast as finding literature online, but children appreciate holding concrete objects and looking at the colorful pictures in lower-level books.

Reading is a skill that children will use for the rest of their lives. It will impact their education, their opportunities and the enjoyment they find in literature. That is why the learning process is worth all the time and resources teachers and parents can afford to provide.
About the Author
Scholastic (http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/guidedreading/) has all the resources that teachers need to conduct guided reading in their classrooms. There are also reading lists that the students and parents can use independently at home. The author, Art Gib, is a freelance writer.
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