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Jan Richardson’s Guided Reading Deep Dive

I have been doing a book study on the professional resource, ​The Next Step Forward In

Guided Reading​: An Assess-Decide-Guide Framework for Supporting Every Reader​ by Jan

Richardson (2016). As a school district, we received this new copy of the Guided Reading book

at the beginning of the 2017-18 school year. As a staff, we have been utilizing the new book as a

reliable resource. We have explored all types of readers: pre-a, emergent, early, transitional, and

fluent. Each type of reader has different strengths and needs. I will outline each reader profile in

more depth throughout this paper.

The first type of reader I examined was the Pre-A reader (artifact a). These readers know

less than 40 uppercase and lowercase letters, they lack concepts of print such as turning pages,

differentiating between words and letters, and where to start when reading. Some Pre-A readers

need assistance writing their name. I learned that Jan Richardson recommends doing a tracing

letter book with these students starting the second week of school. This tracing book should have

a page for each letter with an uppercase and lowercase letter. The goal is for students to learn

correct name of each letter. Students also need to be able to manipulate letters by using magnetic

letters. Jan Richardson believes that this is a rapid learning process and not many students should

be in this stage for a very long time. During a Pre-A lesson, students work with their name, work

with letters, work with sounds, work with books, and also participate in interactive writing and

cut-up sentence. These lessons should be used 5 days a week, for about 20 minutes at a time.

The next type of reader I explored was the Emergent reader (artifact b). As a kindergarten

teacher, this is the type of reader that the majority of my students are during the school year.
These types of readers are able to write their own name, can identify 40 letters and sounds, can

form letters correctly, have left to right directionality and can correct errors and make

predictions. During this level, students are exposed to many different components. During a

guided reading lesson, students participate in sight word review, book introduction, reading with

prompting, discussion, reading strategy instruction, learn a new sight word, in addition to word

study and guided writing practice. Depending on the group, it is recommended to meet for about

25-30 minutes each session.

After a student has mastered reading at an Emergent reader level, they progress onto the

Early reader stage (artifact c). During this stage, students are able to control left to right

directionality, use pictures to help solve unknown words, can read and write 60-80 sight words,

use foundational skills to decode challenging words, use challenging vowels patterns to decode

words, can retell the story and monitor while reading. During an Early reader guided reading

lesson, students are exposed to many different components. Students participate in sight word

review, book introduction, reading with prompting, discussion, reading strategy instruction, learn

a new sight word, in addition to word study and guided writing practice. These lessons should

last about 25-30 minutes.

When students have mastered reading at the Early stage, they then move onto the

Transitional reader level (artifact d). This group of students is extremely diverse and their needs

may vary. These students know a high number of sight words, they struggle with decoding

vocabulary words, specifically multisyllabic words with complex vowel patterns and endings, a

lot of these readers need word study activities that target complex vowels with inflectional

endings, additionally, these readers need to continue working on decoding, retelling, and fluency.
During a guided reading lesson for transitional readers, students are exposed to a new book,

reading instruction with coaching, a time for discussion, teaching points based on the readers

needs, writing, and word study. These lessons last about 25 minutes per session.

The last stage of guided reading is focused on Fluent readers (artifact e). These readers

have automaticity with word recognition, have efficient and flexible word-solving strategies, will

need to learn strategies for monitoring comprehension, and will need to explore deeper levels of

comprehension. Jan Richardson provides many different comprehension strategies you can use

throughout her guided reading lessons (artifact f). During transitional reading lessons, students

are reading new books, diving into new vocabulary, reading and responding to work on fluency,

discussing, writing, and working on comprehension. These lessons take about 25 minutes per


By following the lesson plans that can be found in Jan Richardson’s ​The Next Step in

Guided Reading​ ​book, students will build and develop their foundation of reading. There are

many different elements of the guided reading lesson plan that enables students to be

well-rounded readers. Jan Richardson provides a gradual release to build strong readers.

As a third year teacher, I feel I have a pretty good handle on teaching guided reading. Of

course I am much more familiar with Pre-A, Emergent, and Early readers as those are the

students I work with on a daily basis. I am not as familiar with Transitional and Fluent reading

stages because those are not something I use in my classroom. I believe by doing this

independent study, I have been able to explore and become more comfortable with all types of

This has been impactful because I have had the opportunity to utilize what I’ve learned in

my classroom. I feel much more comfortable teaching reading strategies to my readers. Reading

strategies are necessary to build a strong foundation for all readers. By completing this book

study, I have been able to distinguish between the different types of readers while personalizing

reading instruction for all readers.


Richardson, J. (2016). ​The next step forward in guided reading: An assess-decide-guide

framework for supporting every reader​. Scholastic Teaching Resources.

Artifact A- Pre-A Guided Reading Lesson Plan Template
Artifact B- Emergent Guided Reading Lesson Plan Template
Artifact C- Early Guided Reading Lesson Plan Template
Artifact D- Transitional Guided Reading Lesson Plan Template
Artifact E- Fluent Guided Reading Lesson Plan Template
Artifact F- Jan Richardson’s Comprehension Cards