(Note: These practices are listed in order of independence on the part of the student, from less to more, first for reading, then for writing.)
In read-aloud, the teacher reads to the whole class, building on students' existing skills while introducing different types of literature and new concepts. Read-aloud models fluent and expressive reading, develops comprehension and critical thinking strategies -- including the ability to make connections, visualize stories, and formulate questions -- and builds listening skills. A read-aloud can be conducted without interruption, or the teacher can pause to ask questions and make observations.
In shared reading, the teacher leads the class in reading or chanting a text -- a book, poem, or message on a chart -- that is often enlarged for the whole class to see. Shared reading allows students to observe the reading process and to practice reading strategies or concepts in the safety of a group. The same enlarged text is read and reread several times over a few days. Initially the teacher takes the lead, and then gradually pulls back as students progressively master the text. In each reading, children are encouraged to focus on or discover new concepts about print.
In guided reading, the teacher guides small groups of students in reading short, carefully chosen texts in order to build independence, fluency, comprehension skills, and problem-solving strategies. The teacher often begins by introducing the text and modeling a particular strategy. Then students read to themselves in quiet voices as the teacher listens in, noting strategies and obstacles, and cuing individual students as needed. Students then discuss content, and share problem-solving strategies. Guided-reading materials usually become increasingly challenging and are often read more than once. The teacher regularly observes and assesses students' changing needs, and adjusts groupings accordingly. Guided reading allows a teacher to provide different levels of support, depending on the needs of the students.
Guided Reading/ Instructional Reading Level
At the guided reading/instructional reading level, students read with some classroom instruction and teacher support, and approach new texts with some independence. Although criteria vary, 95% word-identification accuracy and 60% to 70% comprehension are typical standards for judging whether a student is reading at this level.
In independent reading, students read books on their own, exploring different kinds of texts and applying new learning. Students should be able to read these books easily, without assistance. In this video library, students often choose their reading materials, but independent reading can be organized by leveled book baskets or recommendations from the teacher. Teachers confer individually with students during independent reading or model their own silent reading. Independent reading is sometimes called DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) or SSR (Sustained Silent Reading).
Independent Reading Level
At the independent reading level, students read with little or no support from the teacher, and independently solve problems while reading for meaning. Although criteria vary, 95% to 100% word-identification accuracy and 80% comprehension are typical standards for judging whether a student is reading at this level.
In interactive writing, the teacher helps groups of students compose and write text together, usually on large chart paper. With guidance from the teacher, individual students take turns writing, as classmates offer ideas and suggestions. Students practice writing strategies and skills modeled by the teacher, including letter formation, phonemic awareness and phonics, and concepts about print. Interactive writing is sometimes called "sharing the pen."
In independent writing, students write about literature or other topics on their own. In this video library, students write and illustrate creative stories or journal entries on topics of their own choosing. Often followed by a time to share written work with a partner or with the whole class, independent writing allows students to be recognized as authors and to receive feedback.