Easy Reading to Support Guided Reading Instruction
Much has been written about the "Book Box" or selection of easy or familiar texts used to support independent learning. In a recent conversation, the notion of the book box was discussed and the specific contents of the box debated. There appeared to be some confusion around suitable material and also how it should be used to support students during independent learning.
Book boxes provide students with texts that can be read with high levels of success. These texts provide opportunities for students to:
- practise fluent, expressive reading with appropriate pitch, tone and volume
- practise using a range of reading strategies
- solve more quickly and with greater accuracy
- action self monitoring behaviours
- make shifts towards self regulatory reading behaviour
- feel success as a reader.
Teachers can also use these books to strategically build reading stamina. This reaps great rewards to the reader, as the number of words read increases.
What goes into the book box?
Book boxes should be assembled with the reader in mind. Interesting, engaging material is a must when selecting texts. A variety of text types should be represented and text length may also be considered. Material selected for inclusion may be familiar (seen) or unfamiliar (unseen), but always easy. Unseen, instructional or hard level texts should not be included.
Easy or familiar texts should be read on a daily basis. When assigned to support independent learning while the teacher is providing guided reading, the purpose of the follow up task or activity is to provide students with opportunities to apply reading strategies, skills and knowledges to easy or familiar texts. As teacher support is unavailable, new or less familiar tasks should not be assigned at this time.