The Guided Reading Procedure* for accurate reading comprehension, Recall and Study Reading
• Excerpt with permission of authors from: Manzo, U, Manzo, A.V, Thomas M.T. (2009) Content Area Literacy: A Framework for Reading-Based Instruction (5th edition) Wiley Publishers
The Guided Reading Procedure (GRP) was developed to demonstrate to under-achieving students that they can greatly increase their reading comprehension through a metacognitive act of self-determination (Manzo, 1975a), or strategy control. The GRP does this by having
students engage in a learning activity that urges them to re-tell what they have read in a great deal of detail. This requires students to self-monitor their level of attention, concentration, and commitment. Strong reinforcement for doing this follows from their seeing and experiencing the rewards of their improved recollection and comprehension. This outcome is achieved through built-in redundancy features of a GRP lesson: Facts and ideas in the selection are stated, repeated, and reviewed in various forms. In this way, even students who were not willing or able to read a selection initially acquire a firm grounding in the story or information when it is presented in these overlapping ways.
In examining the steps of the GRP, notice that it guides students toward greater independence by stressing one of the most pervasive but least acknowledged secrets of real schooling; namely that, whatever else is said, teachers tend to value factual reading, notetaking, organizing, and test performance. Notice, too, how steps 4 and 8 especially reinforce metacognitive development and strategy control.
Steps in the Guided Reading Procedure
Step 1 Teacher Preparation
Identify a selection, to be read or listened to, of moderate to high difficulty. This generally means not exceeding 50-250 words for a primary grade class, 600 words for an intermediate class, or 900 words for a middle school class. Prepare a 10 - 20 item test on the material to be given at the end of the class period. Recognition type questions, such as multiple choice, tend to insure early success.
Step 2 Student Preparation
First ask students what they know about the topic, then explain that they are to “Read to remember all that you can, because after you have read, I will record what you remember on the chalkboard just as you tell it to me.” When literature is being read, this question can include a phrase asking that students try to remember events in the story, as well as “all that you felt and thought while reading.” Record these comments in parenthesis alongside the related plot elements. It is ok to say “feelings?” and “thoughts?” periodically to remind students that they can express these.
Step 3 Reading and Recalling
Following silent reading, begin asking for free recalls . Record all information on the chalkboard until students have retold all that they can remember. Difficulties in remembering and differences in what students do remember stir excitement and implicit questions for the next steps.
Step 4 Self-Monitoring/Self-Correcting
Instruct students to review the material read and self-correct inconsistencies, and information overlooked in their initial attempts to retell. Note changes and additions on the chalkboard. (See Box 8.8 for an illustration of steps 2, 3, & 4).
Step 5 Restructuring
Encourage students to organize their retellings into outline form. Having students record the outline in their notebooks lends a sense of authenticity and purpose to this effort. The outline can be as simple or elaborate as student ability level permits. Ask guiding questions at this time, such as “What was discussed first?”; “What details followed?”; “What was brought up next?”; and “What seems to be the main idea?” Keep students focused on the outlining task by avoiding questions that are too specific.
Step 6 Teacher Monitoring and Correction
If it appears that students have overlooked any important ideas, raise focusing questions about these points, such as “What do you suppose is the most important of the five points made by the author?”; “How do you suppose this information relates to what we talked about last week in the selection, ‘Man and the Moon?‘”
Step 7 Evaluation
Give the test prepared in step 1. A score of 70% to 80% should be required for a “pass”. Students will surprise you by seeing this as a fair “pass” level due to the extraordinary level of help and empowerment they have received. They also tend to look forward to the test as an opportunity to show what they have learned.
Step 8 Introspection
Discuss any insights students may have reached about their own learning processes as a result of the GRP experience. The insight you want students to reach is that accuracy in comprehension and recall can be improved simply by an internal “act of will” to do so.
Step 9 Optional But Important Study Step
Several days later, give a second test on the same material. Questions should be the same as those on the original test. Allow students about 15 minutes prior to the test to review material from their notes. This step also can serve as a “teachable moment” for coaching study skills and memory techniques of the type presented in the chapter ahead on higher-order thinking and study skills.
Detail of Children’s GRP Recalls of Story, Feelings, and Thoughts
Teacher: Tell me about this story.
Student A: The story is about Little Red Riding Hood, and how she met a wolf on her way to Grandmother’s house; Oh yes, in the woods.
Teacher: What feelings or thoughts did you have about the story?
Student A: I wondered why wolves always are the bad guys in stories in books, but they’re the good guys in those stories about real animals that you see on TV.
Student B: Not me; I’m still afraid of them. This story is a lot scarier than the Gunnywolf.
Teacher: What else was important in the story?
Student A: The wolf pretended to be good and helpful at first.
Student B: That’s what makes wolves scary -- they can pretend to be good.
Support for the Guided Reading Procedure
The GRP has been supported by several experimental and field studies testing its use from fourth grade through high school levels. Culver (1975) found it to be as effective as a full DR-TA; other comparison studies have found it to be significantly more effective (Ankney & McClurg,1981; Bean & Pardi, 1979; Colwell, Mangano, Childs, & Case, 1986). There also are several field accounts of the value of the GRP in the professional literature, including its use at elementary levels (Gaskins, 1981) and at secondary levels (Maring & Furman, 1985; Tierney, Readence, & Dishner, 1990). Importantly, the basic paradigm has struck a sound note with many educators who have used it to develop a variety of related teaching methods such as in writing (Eanet, 1983; Hayes, 1988), science (Spiegel, 1980b) and listening (Cunningham, Cunningham, & Arthur 1981; Kelly & Holmes 1979).