Guided Reading Considerations with ELLs

Guided Reading with ELLs contains another component beyond a regular guided reading lesson.  It is a wonderful opportunity to help students make connections with text and provide ELLs with the opportunity to rehearse language, including academic vocabulary!

A few key components to keep in mind are:

  • Building Background Knowledge:

This goes beyond a gist statement, but it shouldn’t last 10 minutes either.  It is important to find a balance where you are helping students activate their prior knowledge, but still doing it a concise manner.  For example, making “I already know” statements about the subject of the text takes only a few minutes, but gets students minds prepared for the vocabulary they are about to encounter.

  • Vocabulary Introduction:

Jan Richardson’s four-step vocabulary introduction works great for ELLs.  You provide a student friendly definition, connect the word to the students, connect it to the text, and then have them turn and tell a neighbor what the word means.  The thing to keep in mind with ELLs is that you aren’t always just choosing out individual vocabulary words.  You might be choosing figurative language, an idiom, or an unfamiliar phrase.  For example, if a book has the words “station wagon” in the text, this will require an explanation.  Nothing about that phrase offers a clue that a station wagon is an older car that many ELLs (and native speakers, for that matter) are unfamiliar with.

  • Guided Writing Responses to Text:

This is a vital opportunity to work on comprehension of text while rehearsing and providing opportunities to practice academic vocabulary.  This component of guided reading provides the perfect chance to scaffold learning for ELLs.  You may be responding to the text by using a “Somebody Wanted But So” frame or writing a key word summary or practicing writing a quiz question with an answer frame.  There are many ways to respond to text.  The important thing to keep in mind is how you can provide scaffolded support for ELLs’ language in their response and provide opportunities for them to rehearse and practice so they can make the language their own.

If you are interested in watching what adding these components might look like, check out our Guided Reading Model Lesson Videos!

Wondering what lesson plans for this all looks like?  Want some examples?  Check out the plans we’ve created here.

Word study is another component of a transitional guided reading lesson plan and one that can be very beneficial to ELLs, addressing not only phonics and decoding needs they may have but also providing a time to practice language structures that may be tripping them up, like word endings, past progressive verbs, comparative and superlative adjectives, etc.  Want to find out more about what word study looks like?  Check out our tutorial videos here!