Humans have their own natural way of learning things and acquiring knowledge. They are equipped by faculties and senses that are tools in gathering information and skills. However, in some instances require, people are confronted by certain limitations which hinder them to learn. Children, for example, especially those much younger need to seek first guidance of their parents in order to learn the things surrounding them. As they grow, their need for knowledge intensifies and so parents provide them education by letting them go to school.
Here, another entity helps in the building and molding of children’s learning—the teachers. There are various ways of how a teacher could help in cultivating the minds of his students. One of which is by providing them information and knowledge through reading. Reading comprehension is “ an active and complex process ” (Pinnell, 2006), thus it should train the cognitive, sensory- motor, emotional, and artistic aspects of the students. Since reading is a complex process, teachers have devised different reading approaches in educating children.
There are shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading. In shared reading, the teacher let his students get involved in reading the text by providing all of them a copy of the material or by using enlarged texts. By doing this, the teacher could give them various instructions and could invite student to read aloud, thus promoting participation. Independent reading, however, shares the opposite characteristics. Here, the students are given the opportunity to work and acquire information on their own.
It provides them time to train their ability in processing and comprehending ideas by themselves. Guided reading, on the other hand, combines the processes of both aforementioned reading approaches. Here, the students are divided into smaller groups where they will read silently and independently. The teacher will then interact with each of them, listening to their fluency and asking them questions about the material. In this way, the students can still interact with the teacher but can still work independently as well.
Workstations are being used in order to provide students activities that will cultivate a specific aspect of their learning, i. e. artistic aspect. Guided reading is one of the activities that take place in reading workstations. Although teachers are they to guide the students, how can they be assured that the students really learn in these guided reading workstations? One dominant characteristic of guided reading is the teacher’s inquiring to students. According to Pinnell, one important part of an effective teaching is assessing the student’s level of knowledge form time to time.
Since in guided reading the students are required to answer the questions from their teacher regarding the text they have read, then the teacher will have the chance to assess the level of learning of his students. He will be able to analyze their strengths and weaknesses. In that way, he will be guided as to what topics or areas he is going to prepare next for them. He will be also guided in choosing the appropriate teaching approach and strategy for each student. Furthermore, the processes for guided reading are designed in such a way where students could attain a higher percentage of learning.
First, the students are divided according to their independent reading level. In that way, they could get the necessary attention relative to their weaknesses and strengths. Second, working in a smaller group means that the teacher could give them more focus as compared to working in a bigger class. This kind of environment also promotes real conversations between students and teachers. Thus, learning will not be perceived as a boring process, but an enjoying and pleasurable one, as Pinnell has mentioned. Learning in the guided reading setting is also interactive.
The information does not come only from a single entity. Here, the students have the chance to say and share their own ideas and opinion regarding the text. Although the teacher is present at the workstations, the students are still free to work on their own. Finally, the guided reading process not only trains the cognitive ability of the students. It also helps to cultivate their values. In guided reading, the students are required to work first on their own. This teaches them the value of being independent and relying to one’s self.
By reading on their own, the analytical and critical thinking of the students are being enriched. They will learn how to check the accountability of each information they got from the material they read. Once they have questions regarding the topic they have read, they are encouraged to speak up and ask their questions. This, on the other hand, teaches them the value of accepting their own weaknesses and acknowledging help from other people. By the cooperation being formed between the students and the teacher, both will realize that learning requires great amount of dedication and responsibility.
Furthermore, it will also teach them the value of communication since an interaction takes place between them and their teacher. Guided reading, therefore, is an effective way of ensuring the accountability of the students. Its ways and setting do not only give emphasis on the learning ability of the students but to their values and virtues as well.
Guastello, F. (2001). Components of a Balanced Literary Program. Pinnell, G. S. (2006). Every child a reader: What teacher can do. International Reading Association. (p. 78-83)